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Ellson v Yellow Corporation [2009] SAEOT 5

Mr Ellson, who lives on Kangaroo Island, has a vision impairment and uses a guide dog for mobility.  He flew to Adelaide for a meeting, and needed a taxi from the airport to the city. A friend hailed a taxi for him but, after discussion between the taxi driver and the friend, the driver declined to provide transport to Mr Ellson.

Mr Ellson complained to the Equal Opportunity Commission about the actions of the taxi driver. Respondents to the complaint also included the lessee of the taxi, GMB Corporation, and the taxi booking service, Yellow Corporation. After conciliation failed to resolve the complaint, Mr Ellson took his complaint to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal.

In the hearing, the Tribunal heard evidence from Mr Ellson, his friend and the taxi driver. The Tribunal concluded that the taxi driver had not refused to take Mr Ellson because he had a guide dog. Rather, he had misunderstood what was said to him: he thought he was being asked to take several people, plus their luggage and the guide dog, and had concluded that this would overload the taxi. Accordingly, the Tribunal found that no discrimination had occurred.

However, the Tribunal went on to explain that, had there been discrimination, the taxi operator and the booking company would also have been held legally responsible for the driver's actions. This helps clarify the law, and the decision helps to make clear the rights and duties of taxi passengers, drivers and operators.

View the full Tribunal decision by clicking on the link below.

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