Blind Drunk!

Disability discrimination at the door

People with disabilities have social lives, enjoying mainstream pubs, bars, clubs and gigs with friends.

Whilst legislation has made more venues more accessible physically, some of the invisible barriers to entry still remain.

We hear far too many stories of people with visual impairment being refused entry at the door; it has usually been due to door staff lacking the necessary disability awareness training to distinguish between a drunk and a blind drunk! Conditions associated with visual impairment can be likened to being drunk, some eye conditions can present as red, rolling, glazed, lazy, sleepy and that’s before they’ve even had a drink!

‘Listen to your customers’ before refusing entry don’t assume and send them on their way.  It can knock a person’s confidence, self-esteem, be embarrassing and humiliating, don’t forget this refusal could potentially become a disability discrimination lawsuit, costly on more than one level.

lady wearing mini skirt and sun glasses walking with guidedog

Disability awareness and your business

So what does this mean? All staff receive the correct Visual Impairment Awareness Training and policies are put in place to avoid these situations. Guide dogs are there to guide, simple as, and cannot be refused entry. Whilst canes are used to guide too, and not a fashion statement or a health hazard.

Judgement calls

Door Staff must make that call if someone is drunk or there are other factors to be taken into consideration. They may need to navigate the blurred lines between making adjustments for visual impairment, and judgements based upon levels of alcohol intake.

The medication taken by a person with a disability could have impeded their balance and left them feeling dizzy. Of course, it may also be that they have been drinking. Yes, shock horror, people with visual impairments do sometimes drink to excess too. Just like anyone. Would you be disability confident enough to deal with this sort of situation?

For more information on our Disability Awareness e-learning, please use this link…

About the author

Daniel Williams, the director of Visualise Training Consultancy