Friday, August 27, 2010

Wheelchair Discrimination Caught On Video!

Qamar Khaliq of the UK was being discriminated against by a Northern Rail Train Guard. The Nortern Rail train guard refused to put a ramp down so that Mr Khliq, a wheelchair user, could board a train. A quick thinking man, Qamar Khaliq captured the offending guard on video. Mr Khaliq uploaded the video to YouTube:



Qamar Khaliq's video has now spread across the UK news media and has been picked up by all the local newspapers and TV channels. Just do a google search on "Qamar Khaliq" to see a few examples.

Now Northern Rail is on the defensive. According to a report on BBC the security guard has been suspended and Pete Myers, head of service quality for Northern Rail has issued an apology.

I contacted Pete Myers of Northern Rail to find out more. Myers told me that there was an ongoing investigation and the results would be disclosed to Qamar Khaliq. So, I asked Myers about his company's policies.

My Question: The troubling thing here is that three people spoke to Mr Khaliq. None of them seemed interested in helping him get on the train. This indicates to me that the problem was not with the one guard but perhaps with staff training. Can you please let me know the kind of training that staff undergo concerning the UK Disability Discrimination Act of 1995? Can you tell me how familar are your staff concerning this act?

Myers: All of our front line people attended a two day DDA Refresher Course back in 2007/8 and there is an element included within the training for all new starters.

My Question: The two men told Mr Khaliq not to take pictures. The guard was particularly upset by this. Is there some problem with a customer documenting a problem such as this with a video? Is there some kind of company policy against taking videos? If so why?

Myers: We have no specific rules, although the bylaws do forbid it without permission if it is for commercial purposes.

My Question: Will you be able to update me about the outcome of your investigation?

Myers: I am afraid we will not be in a position to disclose the outcome of our investigation to you.

I wonder why Northern Rail is unwilling or unable to make the results of their investigation public? To me it would seem like a more serious investigation if the results as well as the planned follow-up were shared with the general public. Barring a public statement and a serious follow-up, this may very likely happen again.

Are you being discriminated against? Is someone parking where they are not supposed to be parking? Is there a building that has no ramp or other form of access? Do what Qamar Khaliq does. Use a video camera as your weapon! Film the discrimation act, upload it to YouTube. Send a link to your local media and send us a link well. Contact us at this email address: RehaDesign "AT" Gmail.com