D.D.A. guide: Who does the D.D.A. protect?

The definition of "disability" in the DDA includes:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Psychiatric
  • Sensory
  • Neurological, and
  • Learning disabilities, as well as
  • Physical disfigurement, and
  • The presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.

This broad definition is meant to ensure that everyone with a disability is protected.

The DDA covers a disability which people:

  • Have now,
  • Had in the past (for example: a past episode of mental illness),
  • May have in the future (eg: a family history of a disability which a person may also develop),
  • Are believed to have (for example: if people think someone has AIDS).

The DDA also covers people with a disability who may be discriminated against because:

  • They are accompanied by an assistant, interpreter or reader,
  • They are accompanied by a trained animal, such as a guide or hearing dog, or
  • They use equipment or an aid, such as a wheelchair or a hearing aid.

The DDA also protects people who have some form of personal connection with a person with a disability like relatives, friends, carers and co-workers if they are discriminated against because of that connection or relationship. For example, it is unlawful discrimination if:

  • A parent is refused a job because the employer assumes he or she will need time off work to look after a child with a disability
  • People are refused access to a restaurant because they are with a friend who has a disability
  • A carer of a person with a disability is refused accommodation because of his or her association with the person with a disability
  • A worker is hassled about working with a person with a disability.

Harassment because of disability, such as insults or humiliating jokes, is unlawful in employment, education and in the provision of goods, services and facilities.

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