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DEMOS Project

Online Materials for Staff Disability Awareness
[Modules] : SENDA

Less Favourable Treatment

How do I know if I'm treating someone less favourably?

A responsible body discriminates against a disabled person if they treat them less favourably for a reason relating to their disability in comparison to how it treats other people. To prove discrimination, a disabled person only has to show that others would have been treated better, not that they actually have been treated better.


If you have a deaf student in your class who is lip-reading and you speak while facing the white board, they cannot lip-read and therefore miss out on part of the lecture. This is treating the student less favourably compared to other students in the class.

Are there any circumstances in which I am justified in treating someone less favourably?

The Act does make provision for justifications for less favourable treatment in certain circumstances including maintaining academic standards and if there are reasons which are material and substantial (i.e.not trivial) to the individual case.

However, the onus will be on you to prove that the action was justified in individual circumstances and that the justification would still be valid even after the reasonable adjustment had been made. The justifications for less favourable treatment should not be used spuriously.


If you reject a suitably qualified wheelchair user who is applying for a field-based course, you would have to show that there are core elements to that particular course that the individual would not be able to do.

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