Face coverings claims initial responses

Following our first face coverings success, where a major service provider agreed to pay the Claimant £7,000 for refusing her access for being unable to wear a face covering, a raft of pre-action correspondence has transpired.

Our first priority is to ensure that disabled people unable to wear face coverings can use services safely and without being harassed.  Apart from US based companies who don't understand UK equality law, it has not generally been difficult to get service providers to agree that disabled people exempt from wearing a face covering are entitled to go about their business on the same basis as everyone else, but on just one proviso, the words "I'm exempt" must be clearly stated if challenged.  This is unsatisfactory for some, but the Guidance does allow service providers to check if someone wearing a mask is exempt or simply forgotten to wear a face covering.  But that is as far as any service provider can legitimately go. 

We have therefore asked Her Majesty's Government (HMG) to improve awareness of the face coverings exemptions regime and our Director has received this encouraging reply from the Minister. 

Again HMG states, "...we make it clear that some people may have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for not wearing face coverings, and that people do not need to prove they are exempt and should not be challenged about this.  We are also clear that people should remove their face coverings to aid communication where asked, and that those accompanying or assisting people for whom a face covering will inhibit communication are not required to wear face coverings".

Although we're making good progress with increasing understanding, compensation is taking longer.  In fact, people using our free template letter have achieved more than our own letters to service providers!  Several people using our template have already had offers of compensation whilst our own efforts have so far resulted in all services seeking lengthy time extensions to investigate.  Please note there is usually a six month time limit to get your case to court. 

It was kind of several people to offer donations and, although we never expect this, we have added a donations button to our site for those who want to and are able to.  The button also responds to the requests we have had from some customers to pay their fees using PayPal, although we do not encourage this due to charges.

We hope in some small way we have made getting out and about easier and less stressful.  Remember the exemptions system is there so that those unable to wear face coverings can still use services.  Those bizarrely behaving people who believe there should be no exemptions are effectively saying those unable to wear face coverings, including children, should be banned from all services.  Fortunately that is not the position of the Government and those who pursue such a ridiculous agenda are likely to continue to cause compensation claims.  The number of such people in work is likely to decrease as they will become increasingly expensive for employers.


Nailing the Offenders

Hearing of so many devastating incidents of extreme disability discrimination triggered by various service providers seeking to enforce masks on those unable to wear them has been shocking.  Now we are working together to nail the offenders and stop this happening.

Many people have already obtained apologies and assurances of changes from service providers - a great achievement.  This is the piority - to ensure we can all go out free from discrimination and harassment.

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of winning your case it is best to have the following in place... 

- Medical evidence showing you have condition that has a long term and substantial impact on your life.  Long term means at least a year and substantial means more than minor or trivial. 

- Confirmation that wearing a face covering would cause you severe distress.  The gold standard is a medical professional confirming this, but we appreciate this is not always possible and you will know if a face covering causes you severe distress.  Although this is new territory for everyone, logically if you describe severe distress and that is consistent with your condition, that should be accepted by service providers and / or the courts. 

- Dates, times and locations of incidents with a description of what happened.

Please note none of this is needed to be exempt from wearing a face covering.  It's just that such evidence is needed when pursuing remedy for discrimination. 

If you have the above in place when we get to your case, if you still need us, we will be able to get on with it efficiently.

There is usually a six month time limiit for discrimination cases.

Apologies to those who have struggled to find our face coverings discrimination template letter.

Denial of medical treatment part of shocking trend

We are dealing with a disturbing number of cases of people denied essential medical treatment because they are unable to wear a face covering.  It's hard to keep ourselves together when we are hearing such shocking and dangerous examples of prejudice and discrimination towards people unable to wear face masks.  This is in addition to people prevented from accessing basic provisions and being harassed when peacably entering retail and services premises.  This trend in society could reasonably be compared with some of the darkest days of human history. 

That has meant the kind messages of support and encouragement we have received are even more of a boost. 

If we have still not got to your case we are sorry.  Please continue to bear with us.  We have taken on extra staff but are still a tiny company and have never experienced anything like this before.

Face coverings discrimination crisis

Last week we received many harrowing cases of extreme disability discrimination.  People being refused medical treatment, food, banking, transport and other services on an unprecedented scale.  Harassment has become everyday with people peaceably going about their business being prevented from doing so by staff and even, in some cases, the public.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to supermarkets warning them that they should not be discriminatiing against disabled people unable to wear face covering.

We have three members of staff.  EHRC has many more.  We will get back to you as soon as we can.  In the meantime you may not need us if the EHRC agrees to take your case - it has a legal department.

The EHRC should be made aware of your situation anyway.  Contact details here .

Please note there is usually a six month time limit to get your case to court.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have left messages of encouragement and support.  In such dark times this has been a great boost - much appreciated. 

Avalanche of face-covering discrimination cases

In a typical week we receive about 20 enquiries.  In the last 48 hours we have received over 400 - the vast majority about disability discrimination related to face coverings.  Despite a relatively clear Government exemptions policy, most members of the public appear to believe that everyone must be masked.  Some, put in a state of fear by the coronavirus scare, are resorting to harassment and discrimination.

We are not lawyers, and we do not believe that any face-covering discrimination case has been to court.  We have acted in one case and that was settled out of court for £7,000.  This was because the Claimant obviously could not wear a mask and she was prevented from accessing an essential service.  The company concerned had no choice but to do what it could to put matters right as it had so obviously messed up. Some businesses who are prepared to admit fault and own up will settle, but others may dig-in.

In that situation, The Equality Act (or Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland), which is believed to be the reason for the exemptions policy, can only be enforced by victims of discrimination taking cases to court.  And, ultimately, only a court can decide if there has been discrimination and / or harassment in any particular case. 

Legal aid is virtually non-existent and so lawyers are largely the preserve of the wealthy.  Disabled people are not generally very rich.  The idea of the county court small claims track is that claimants can use it themselves without lawyers.  Using it is the only realistic way of making most Equality Act rights anything more than theoretical in England, with variations of this available in Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

That doesn't mean it's easy though, but there is only really any point in using our template letter (posted in our last news item and based on the Equality Act 2010) if you are prepared to take that step afterwards if necessary.  We cannot litigate as we are not solicitors, but sometimes support disabled litigants in person.  Given the volume of enquiries at the moment it is unfortunately unlikely we will be able to directly help everyone.  We are therefore hoping people can use the publicly available information that we use to pursue cases with confidence in their right to take action to protect basic civil rights. 

At present it feels like disability discrimination is where race discrimination was in about 1950 and that can only be tackled by enforcing rights as described.  We are recruiting staff so we can do more also.


Face coverings discrimination rife

We are inundated by an avalanche of enquiries from people discriminated against for being unable to wear face coverings.  Please bear with us while we work through the back-log. 

Many of the incidents are harrowing and frightening and suggest deeply disablist attitudes are rife in society.  The current situation has sinister historical parallels.  Many people appear to believe that putting on a face covering makes them superior whereas those unable to wear one are inferior to them.

The following may help.

The reason for the Government's face coverings exemption policy is to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination legislation.  The Government is clear that "the rules" do not require everyone to wear face coverings: .

Here is a template letter you may find helpful.  It is only suitable for England and Wales but could be adapted.  Please note the Equality Act 2010 does not apply in Northern Ireland but there is the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 instead. 

Please also note there are no county courts in Scotland but there are sheriff courts instead.

More information can be obtained from:


Please bear in mind there is usually a six month time limit to make a discrimination claim.

There is a chance you may be insured with legal cover - for example your household policy or trade union membership, so please do check. 

Please also be aware that, if you pursue your case to court, there could be a costs risk to you if your case is not allocated to the small claims track and/or the Defendant convinces the court you shouldn't have brought the case.  Organisations can be very aggressive defending disability discrimination claims even though the only way to enforce equality legislation is to take your case to court.  Officially the courts are open and accessible to disabled litigants but it does not necessarily feel like that. 

This website contains useful information about discrimination claims: .



Kester Disability Rights Ltd., The Archway Centre, 6 New Road, Ludlow SY8 2NX. Registered in England number 11917856.