UK motor industry retailers who do not alter their services and employment practices before 2004 to take into account disabled customers and staff could face prosecution, warns the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI).

Changes to the Disability Discrimination Act coming into force in 2004 will mean that businesses may need to make adjustments to their physical layout for customers, as well as to their recruitment, employment, and dismissal policies for staff.

RMI legal department head Dionne Cunningham said: “Premises will need to be accessible and practical for customers with a range of disabilities. If they are not already accessible, changes may need to take place.”

Disabled staff will receive greater protection from discrimination during employment, as well as in the recruitment and dismissal processes.

“Employers will be expected to remove barriers, both in terms of surroundings and procedures to facilitate a better working environment for disabled staff,” Cunningham added.