Disabled customers have a right to enter your building and you have a duty to help them, even if they can get all the services you provide on-line or elsewhere. Royal Bank of Scotland -v- Allen.
A wheelchair user, was unable to access the bank’s main Sheffield branch, which did not have wheelchair access. He complained to the County Court which found that RBS was in breach of the duty to make the branch accessible to disabled users in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. RBS had argued that its services were accessible on-line and at ATMS. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision that banking services include face to face banking service, which A could not access due to the absence of wheelchair access. RBS was ordered to pay £6,000 damages and a mandatory injunction was imposed on RBS to install a platform lift at a cost of £200K.
Editors Note: Service providers have a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that people are not prevented from using their services because they have a disability. This duty is anticipatory and continuing. In other words, service providers need to think ahead of how the physical features of their premises can reasonably be improved to ensure that people are not prevented from using their services because they have a disability. Service providers should also note that the DDA does not take a minimalist approach to this issue; hence it is not enough to say that the disable person has access to some of its services. It has to be all the services on offer to the general public at that location.