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Case Studies Unjustifiable hardship in Annie’s case

Unjustifiable hardship in Annie’s case

Annie is a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She completed her final exams last year. She did really well at her high school and says that this was because her school had small classes and the teachers were well-trained to understand her disability.

Now she is enrolled in a course at a university. She is not doing very well in her assessments and asks the university to move her to a small class instead of having to go to large classes filled with many students. She provides the university with reports from her high school teachers that say small classes are a good adjustment for Annie. The university says that it probably needs to improve the training of its lecturers in disability awareness, in particular ADHD. However, the university refuses to change the class structure and create a small class for Annie. It says that doing this would cost it too much and it would not be fair to the other students who would still have to go to the large classes. Also, it says it doesn’t have enough staff to make this adjustment and that class timetables couldn’t be changed without a lot of trouble. The university says a review of available classrooms shows that the only spare classrooms are in a completely different part of the university grounds. Here, the university is using the exception of unjustifiable hardship to refuse to provide a small class for Annie. If Annie made a complaint to a court, the university would need to show reports, review notes and written reasons to try to prove a small class would cause unjustifiable hardship. What may be unjustifiable hardship for a small education provider may not be for a larger one. The university would also need to explain what alternative adjustments it has considered and proposed to the student.

Case Studies Unjustifiable hardship in Rory’s case

Unjustifiable hardship in Rory’s case

Rory is deaf and wants to attend a free course in needle work offered at the local community centre. She needs interpreters to attend the course.

The centre says it would like to provide interpreters and it has no problems with interpreters attending. It agrees that this is a necessary and reasonable adjustment for Rory. But the centre has no funds available for the course as it is free – even the teacher is a volunteer. The centre tells Rory that it would cause it unjustifiable hardship to pay the interpreters’ fees. This is a case where if Rory made a complaint under the DDA, it would be unlikely she would be successful due to the unjustifiable exception.

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