Fizzy Drinks and The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wondering what the title of this post is about?
It seems that an 18-year old woman was about to enter a Belfast concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers when her “fizzy drink” was confiscated by security.
Well, she suffers from type 1 diabetes and the “fizzy drink” was Lucozade, which she always carries to control her blood sugar level.
Strict No-Liquids Policy
Security was “unmoved” when she told them she had diabetes, “and showed  the tattoos on my wrist which indicate I have diabetes. She said that ‘anyone could have that’ so I also showed her my insulin pack and the meter used to check my levels. She consulted with another guard and they insisted that they had a strict policy and they would not allow me to bring the drink inside.”
So, she filed a lawsuit under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – and The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland found that the event company had failed to provide a “reasonable adjustment” to its no-liquids policy.
For US readers you can substitute “reasonable accommodation” for “reasonable adjustment.”
Reasonable Accommodation Required
A legal officer at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said:
“These are the kind of circumstances in which the reasonable adjustment provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act can be most beneficial. They are in the act to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied access to services by reason of general policies which can, in themselves, be otherwise justifiable and necessary. In this case, the company should have made arrangements to ensure that Kayla could have accessed Lucozade during the concert if needed, for example by directing her to its own medical centre at the venue and providing her with a bottle of Lucozade.”
This situation is similar to the “reasonable accommodation” requirements in the employment context under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
I have written umpteen times that it isn’t all that difficult (and usually not particularly expensive) to arrive at a “reasonable accommodation” for an employee with a disability – at least compared to the cost of litigation.
Amy has also weighed in: She wrote that “Critical to compliance with the ADA, employers must engage in an ‘interactive process’ with an employee who has a disability to determine what kind of reasonable accommodations it can provide. Engaging in the interactive process is an ongoing duty. I cannot emphasize that enough.”