A taxi driver refused to allow a visually impaired woman into his cab – because she had a guide dog with her.
But the driver was last week fined after Mid Sussex District Council successfully prosecuted him.
The council says it received a complaint about the driver – Mr Muhammad Jashim Uddin, from East Grinstead – on September 4, 2017.
Mr Uddin, who is licensed by the council as a private hire driver, was accused of refusing to honour a booking made by a disabled woman because she was accompanied by a guide dog.
The council’s licensing team investigated the allegation and decided to prosecute.
A spokesman said: “It is an offence under the Equality Act 2010 for a driver to refuse or decline to take a customer who is accompanied by an assistance dog.” Mr Uddin pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates Court on March 21.
The magistrates fined him £162, plus a victim surcharge of £30 and ordered him to pay the council’s total court costs of £876.
Council cabinet member for community Norman Webster said later: “Mid Sussex District Council takes the Equality Act very seriously and I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to any rogue taxi drivers who think it’s acceptable to discrimate against disabled people.
“Assistance dogs play a vital role in helping visually impaired people and those with other disabilities to maintain their independence.
“They deserve to be treated properly – and that includes being able to travel with their owner in taxis.
“Quite simply it is unlawful for a driver to refuse to pick up a properly booked person with an assistance dog.”