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Disabled Staff

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Jul 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Employing Disabled People Disability

The Disability Discrimination Act was set up to ensure that disabled people are treated fairly. It can make good business sense to employ disabled staff. The act has been superceded by the Equality Act of 2010 but the principles of both acts are as follows.

About Discrimination

Employers cannot discriminate against a disabled person when recruiting, promoting, dismissing or making redundant members of staff on the grounds of their disability.

Discrimination also occurs when a person suffers the following on the grounds of their disability:

  • Is unjustifiably treated less favourably than others
  • Is subjected to harassment
  • Is victimised

Discrimination also occurs when an employer fails to make a 'reasonable adjustment' in relation to a disabled staff member. Reasonable means in proportion to the specific circumstances and situation, balancing the costs involved and an employer's resources. Reasonable adjustments are actions that an employer takes to ensure an employee or job applicant is not substantially placed at a disadvantage compared to others. This could include adjustments to staff training, the recruitment process or staff benefits or the modification of equipment, including changes to the premises, adjusting or adding flexibility to work patterns and rest breaks and giving employees time off to attend medical appointments or for recuperation.

Why Employing Disabled People is Good for Business

There are very good reasons for Employing Disabled People to work for your company. You can:
  • Widen your pool of candidates from which to recruit staff
  • Gain a competitive advantage by having a diverse workforce that can attract a diverse range of customers. It's perhaps worth remembering that there are over 10 million registered disabled people in Britain, most of whom are potential customers or employees
  • Make your business more representative of the whole community and foster a positive public image as a fair and inclusive business
  • Boost staff morale and loyalty by your staff who consider your business to be fair to and representative of all people
  • Avoid claims of unlawful disability discrimination
People who have disabilities are not all the same. They are individuals and should be treated as such. It is very important not to make pre-judgments or assumptions when assessing the suitability of a potential employee. Quite often, only very minor adjustments to the working environment or to working hours can open up the door to a previously unconsidered employee who could bring great value to your company. In addition, numerous disabled people are often able to work for companies from home and it can often be worth employers considering if some non-core functions can be relocated in this way.

There is funding available to support businesses who wish to employ disabled people. If you have the attitude that you want the best person for the job, then by not excluding disabled people, you are widening your choice and have a better chance of finding the most suitable person to do the job. Disabled people can often be more committed and more productive than other workers. By recruiting them, it means you, as an employer, take equal opportunities and social responsibilities seriously which, in turn, gains the respect from the rest of your workforce, your customers and your shareholders and investors alike.

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Hi, I am registered severly sight impaired/blind and am having difficulties at my place of work regarding rest breaks. I am currently allocated a 20 minute morning break, 30 minute lunch and 10 minute afternoon break. I work on the top floor of a busy two floor office and in order to get downstairs I have to use a very unreliable and slow lift or a spiral staircase with people running up and down it throughout the day. I then have to navigate my way through the canteen in order to exit the building. I am currently awaiting the date for a disciplinary as on a number of occasions i have been anything between 1-3 minutes over on some of my breaks. I had been spoken to previously about this and had to resort to cutting my breaks short in order to give myself time to re-enter the building and make it back to my desk but despite my efforts to correct this there has been a few occasions where I have gone over again. The only reasonable adjustment my employer has offered is to cut my morning break to 15 minutes and add that to my afternoon break. Is this fair treatment as it feels as though they are not taking my difficulties into account. Whilst I do not expect to be given extra or extended breaks is it reasonable to think it may take me longer to re-enter the building and make it back to my desk.
Stuart - 17-Jul-19 @ 8:42 AM
Hello I wanted to ask I had a home accident should here sewn forearms after returning to work, I gave siknot where it says that I have to exercise a lightweight service,,, which did not happen and there was another complication because I was doing heavy work as I rose from day 7 tons of rice so I went back to siknot but after returning to work with paper that you can not do the hard work blew me after a month ... and what do I do now when I'm still on the left hand infirm Thanks for your response robert
bery - 15-Nov-14 @ 1:55 PM
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