A woman is suing the promoter of Little Mix for failing to provide a British Sign Language interpreter for the whole of a Little Mix concert which she attended last year.
The woman’s 8 year old daughter is a big Little Mix fan and so she, along with some friends, decided to take their children to the group’s concert.
When the tickets were booked, the woman contacted the organisers and asked them to provide an interpreter so that she and two friends, whom are all deaf and who were accompanying their daughters to the concert, could enjoy the concert experience with their children.
The organisers informed them that they could bring along their own interpreter but they refused to provide the interpreter themselves.
When the woman took legal advice she was informed that under the Equality Act 2010 any organisation which is supplying a service to the public is under a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to that service in order that a disabled person’s experience of the service comes as close as possible to the experience of those receiving the service who do not suffer a disability.
There is no legal definition of what the ‘reasonable adjustment’ might be, as this would depend upon each case and circumstance. In this case, the woman believed that it was a reasonable adjustment for the organisers to provide an interpreter for the concert.
The woman’s solicitors therefore wrote to the organisers before the concert with notice that their client was applying to the Court for an injunction to force them to provide an interpreter. Before the Court hearing the organisers agreed to provide an interpreter rather than face a Court ruling on the issue.
The woman, her friends and their children all attended the concert. The organisers had done what they promised to do, provide a British Sign Language interpreter whilst Little Mix were performing. However, as with most pop concerts, there were in fact two supporting acts who both performed before Little Mix arrived on stage. For some reason, the interpreter had not been booked to cover their performances as well.
The woman did not feel that the organisers had made sufficient reasonable adjustments because the interpreter was not there to sign for the whole concert. She and her friends felt that their experience of the whole of the concert was impaired because they could not enjoy the supporting acts in the same way that their children and the other attendees could. Because of this, the woman is continuing with her legal action. It remains to be seen whether the Court will agree with her assessment of the experience of the concert she received on the day or whether the Court will decide that the organisers had made sufficient reasonable adjustments.
The Equality Act 2010 can apply in many different situations whenever an organisation or a company is supplying a service to the public. If you have a disability and you believe that a service you have purchased does not meet your needs in some way you may have a claim under the Equality Act 2010. Most organisations have implemented changes to their venues so that doors and access ways are accessible for disabled people (with lifts and ramps etc) and with public announcements in writing as well as verbally for those hard of hearing but this really is just the bear minimum. Depending upon what the service is which is being sold by an organisation, other reasonable adjustments might need to be made.