WATCHDOG DISABILITY LAWS NOW BBC1(3 Posts)
I know I have used capitals coddy
but this is urgent
8th Febuary 2005
Bristol shopkeepers contacted Watchdog suspecting they were the target of a money making scheme. It involved a claims management company and two women more interested in 'making money', than spending it.
Over 100 shopkeepers witnessed the same routine. Jill Bellil and Denise Stainer (who was in a wheelchair), approached shops across Bristol. At each one, Denise was left outside. Jill Bellil entered the shop and asked staff for a ramp. Many shops didn't have one, but offered assistance. Jill refused and walked away pushing Denise in the wheelchair.
Two months later, 81 businesses in Bristol received a letter from Knoland Legal. The letters told shopkeepers they "...had failed to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, and ...our client, Denise Stainer, suffered injury to their feelings and has been discriminated against".
The Disability Rights Commission helped draft the Act that Knoland Legal referred to. It thinks Knoland Legal has misinterpreted the law, and that the shops weren't in the wrong.
Watchdog tracked down the two ladies. Denise Stainer says she was recruited by Jill Bellil whilst in hospital. The plan was to visit as many shops as possible and where they found no ramp, claim for compensation. Jill and Denise would split any money they won, with Knoland Legal taking a fee.
Denise regrets getting involved. Denise said, "Certain shops I felt I could get into. It wasn't fair on the shopkeepers and it didn't look good for disabled people."
Jill Bellil said she wanted to prove a point, not to make money.
Peter Strickland runs Knoland Legal. He says as the claimant's credibility is in question and all the claims have been withdrawn. He says his company wasn't greedy and acted in good faith. Knoland Legal intends continuing handling disability discrimination claims, but is improving its processes.
If you have any questions about disability discrimination contact the Disability Rights Commission via their website at www.drc-gb.org.
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