Equality Advisory Service
In your enquiry you ask if it is acceptable to ask that disabled shoppers register their blue badge at the customer services desk in order to have extra time to shop and eat. You explain that you have asked Parking Eye if it is required that they give disabled shoppers more time and they have not yet confirmed this.
To be protected as a disabled individual under the Equality Act you must meet the definition of disability ie disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term and adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities. Substantial would mean anything more than minor or trivial, long term would mean that the condition has lasted at least a year or is looking to last that long. And everyday activities would be things such as making food, walking or communicating with others.
To answer your question we would need to focus on what the reasonable adjustment duty entails.
The duty is triggered where a disabled service user may face a substantial disadvantage when compared to a non-disabled service user in the same or a similar circumstance. There is no specific requirement on how a service provider must make adjustments. Only that it could be done by changing a physical feature, by the provision of an auxiliary aid or service, or by altering a provision criterion or practice. It also state that in the circumstance of a service provider that the adjustment duty is anticipatory. It also gives some guidance on reasonableness.
In this circumstance, the duty is triggered for those who face a physical disadvantage specifically and as a result may struggle to achieve the same tasks within the allotted time that a non-disabled service user would. This would imply that Morrison’s should take steps to remove what disadvantages they can to ensure that disabled service users have as close to the same shopping experience as possible. It is this duty which makes supermarkets with car parks provide disabled parking bays.
The key word of this duty is reasonable. To ensure that only the people who need extra time are the people who get this extra time, it may be reasonable for there to be some sort of way for Morrison’s to regulate parking for long hours in this way.
Reasonableness is often measured on factors such as accessibility, finances, and ensuring that the adjustment removes the disadvantage rather than gives an actual advantage. The duty to make the adjustment lies with the service provider which is Morrison’s. Therefore, you may be able to challenge Parking Eye. However, it may be difficult to argue that they have any duty to make adjustments for the people who are using the car park.
If ever you choose to challenge a service provider based on them not abiding by this duty you would have to ensure that you do so within 6 months of a particular incident as this is the legal time limit for taking action in county court.
There are various template letters on our website which are designed to support individuals when making a complaint under the Equality Act. If you chose to make a complaint, it would have to be towards Morrison’s using their formal procedure where they may look to liaise with Parking Eye.