FirstGroup Plc v Paulley
The Court held that FirstGroup’s policy of requiring a driver just to request a non-wheelchair user to vacate the space without taking any further steps was unjustified under the Equality Act. Where a driver who has made such a request concludes that a refusal is unreasonable, he or she should consider some further step to get the non-wheelchair user to vacate the space, depending on the circumstances. By a majority of the Court, however, declined to uphold the award of damages to the appellant.
The Court considered that, due to the “reasonable adjustments” required to be made by a “public service provider” such as the respondent under the Equality Act 2010, s 29, the policy of FirstGroup should have required the driver to take further steps than he did in requesting that the space be vacated for Mr Paulley as a wheelchair user. However, as it would not have been justified to require this as an absolute rule, there is a prospect that further steps would not have ensured that Mr Paulley was not placed at the disadvantage he was, and therefore an award of damages was not considered possible.