A PROFOUNDLY deaf woman who was snubbed by a bus driver in Sheffield has received £1,000 damages.
Julie Blackley, aged 45, was distraught after she enquired whether a bus was going to High Green and the driver ‘mumbled’ at her and literally closed the doors in her face.
Shocked passengers advised her to complain after the incident in Sheffield city centre and after watching CCTV footage Stagecoach quickly apologised.
But Julie, of Well Croft, High Green, felt angry and not at all confident about using buses again.
She turned to the Deaf Advice Service Sheffield which teamed up with Sheffield Law Centre.
The centre advised her she had suffered disability discrimination and when it approached the bus company it coughed up £1,000 in compensation.
Julie said: “I was really angry after the incident because of the ignorant behaviour of the driver.
“I hope the bus companies will take the needs of deaf customers seriously because of what I did.”
Douglas Johnson, equality rights worker at Sheffield Law Centre, said: “When this type of behaviour results in a lower standard of service and relates to a disability, it may well be unlawful.”
Kate Bushen, of DASS, said: “Unfortunately Julie’s experience reflects the discrimination that occurs regularly for profoundly deaf people.”
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “We welcome all passengers and our drivers are given training on helping customers who need special assistance.
“We believe the driver did not deliberately discriminate against the customer on the grounds of her disability, but we accept that the level of service she received fell well below the standards we expect.
“She has accepted our apology, we are pleased the matter has been resolved.”