Deaf Mum Sues Concert Promoter In Equality Act Case

The promoter of the pop group, Little Mix, is being sued by a deaf woman for failing to sufficiently provide a British Sign language interpreter for the whole of the concert.

This case raises the question as to how far should promoters go to make reasonable adjustments to those who have disabilities.

The promoters, LHG Live are being sued by Sally Reynolds, the parent of an eight year old fan of Little Mix, for the alleged failure of the promoter to comply with the Equality Act at a concert held in Sussex in September 2017.

Sally Reynolds was due to attend the concert with her daughter and her two friends who were also deaf and their children.

She considered that it was important that she and her two friends could fully access the songs like her daughter and asked LHG Live to provide a British Sign Language interpreter.

At first she was offered carer tickets and told that she could bring her own interpreter. However she refused the offer as she thought that it didn’t amount to full access and meet her needs.

LGH refused to provide an interpreter so Sally Reynolds instructed her lawyers to apply for a court injunction to force LGH Live to provide a British Sign Language interpreter.

Shortly before the concert was due to start, LGH Live backed down and agreed to provide a British Sign Language interpreter.

However, the interpreter did not cover the entire concert but only part of it. The interpreter had not been booked to cover the two supporting acts.

Sally Reynolds is therefore continuing with her claim in the courts for damages.

Under the Equality Act2010, there is a duty on any organisation which is providing services to the public to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled service users are not put a substantial disadvantage.

The duty includes making reasonable adjustments to potential barriers such as ay policies, procedures or criterion applied which may also place disabled customers at a disadvantage when seeking access to services.

The Act applies to all areas of the service industry including the hospitality and leisure sector.

There is a lack of clear guidance in deciding how far an organisation should go in providing reasonable adjustments. Factors to take into account are such matters as cost, health and safety, the effect on other service users and practicality. Many cases are fact-specific making it difficult to create definite precedents and there is still a degree of uncertainty in this area.

It remains to be seen in this case if the court will agree that LGH Live did fail to make sufficiently reasonable adjustments in this case and the case will be watched with interest by disabled service users and across the service industry as a whole.

About the author

Glenn Jaques is a director and solicitor specialising in employment law at our Sheffield office.

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