Post Office settles disability discrimination case

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Media captionKiruna Stamell could not reach a chip-and-pin machine

An actress with dwarfism who could not reach chip-and-pin machines in a post office has had her discrimination case settled by the company.

Kiruna Stamell sued the Post Office, claiming disability discrimination.

The Post Office thanked Ms Stamell for bringing the issue to its attention, and has put flexible leads on the machines so their reach can now be extended.

Ms Stamell's solicitor said her case was of "significant wider importance".

Ms Stamell, who is just over a metre tall, is a screen and stage actress who has appeared in such television shows as EastEnders and Life's Too Short.

When she needed to use the chip-and-pin machine at a Post Office branch, she found it was fastened to the counter and beyond her reach. Staff then tried to make steps from cardboard boxes, which she says caused her embarrassment.

She claimed disability discrimination because of a failure to make reasonable adjustments to the machines to accommodate her restricted height.

'Quite humiliating'

Ms Stamell said: "It was really embarrassing because there was a very large queue of people behind me.

"I just wanted to be able to put my pin in like everybody else and post a letter, and to withdraw cash. And so staff were improvising random steps out of cardboard boxes and it was really quite humiliating."

Her solicitor Chris Fry said: "Kiruna raised an issue of significant wider importance at a time when the minister of state for disabled people has been urging service providers to improve their accessibility, and as evidence has emerged from DisabledGo that thousands of public places have barriers in place that make it difficult for disabled people to lead ordinary lives.

"These changes brought by Kiruna's case mean that the Post Office is now much more accessible as Britain's 12 million disabled people are sending and receiving presents this Christmas."

DisabledGo provides access information for disabled people in the UK.

The Post Office's communications and corporate affairs director, Mark Davies, said he wanted customers who were unhappy about certain issues to discuss them with the company.

"We're improving the way we listen to our customers all the time," he said.

"We are absolutely going to listen to them and I think, as in the case with Kiruna, we've listened to the points that she's raised with us, we've taken action," he said.

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