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Debenhams Becomes First Prosecution under DDA
Greg Jackson, a 43-year old wheelchair-user, is suing the retailer because he has been denied access to a section of the menswear department in the Derby store which can only be reached via a set of steps. The DRC is supporting him in his case.
Greg Jackson commented: "It's unacceptable that Debenhams are refusing to make any adjustments for disabled people. Improvements to access the menswear section in the Derby store would be relatively cheap and simple to make. Instead, I'm in the embarrassing situation of having to ask for clothes to be brought down to me by a shop assistant which means it's impossible to browse properly and places pressure on me to buy. It also emphasises and draws attention to my impairment and so I feel like I'm being singled out because of my disability.”
The high street retailer, with 123 stores in the UK and Ireland and annual profits last year totalling £300.5m, failed to make improvements to the menswear section in Derby despite several requests from Mr Jackson dating back to January 2004.
Bert Massie, Chairman of the DRC, said: "An independent report for the DRC shows that some 20 Debenhams stores pose similar access barriers to those found in Derby. This is unacceptable. Debenhams has had many years to make these changes yet unlike their competitors there is no centrally managed plan to make access improvements that would meet their legal duties. Instead, they appear satisfied in doling out a second class service to disabled customers.”
- This story has been made public by the Disability Rights Commission: www.drc-gb.org