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Your Guide to Disability Discrimination At Work

According to recent figures, almost 20% of working-age people are disabled. There are close to 4.5 million disabled people in work, but disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as people without disabilities.

Employment law help states that it’s unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in the hiring process, but protections for disabled people at work go further than that.

You are responsible for the health, safety, and wellbeing of all your employees, including tackling disability discrimination in the workplace. 

To help you best assist your disabled employees, we’ve compiled this guide to disability discrimination at work. For further law help, get in touch with Simplify ER. We have years of experience with employment law help and can assist you with any questions about workplace law.

What is Disability Discrimination?

Discrimination is treating someone less favourably than others because of a personal characteristic, and this includes disability. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of their disability, during the hiring process and while they are working for you.

The Equality Act categorises a disability as a physical or mental condition that has a severe and long-term impact on that person’s ability to do day-to-day activities. Remember, disabilities can be invisible or invisible. 

There are different forms of disability discrimination.

  • Direct discrimination: when an employee is discriminated against because of their disability.
  • Indirect discrimination: when a workplace policy, intentionally or unintentionally, impacts disabled people more than other workers.
  • Discrimination arising from disability: when the discrimination occurs from something connected to the person’s disability.

We recommend seeking employment law help for more information on the different types of discrimination and how these impact your employees.

Examples of Disability Discrimination at Work

Law help organisations can give you a more in-depth breakdown of the ways disability discrimination plays out in the workplace. However, it can be helpful to see examples of how policies and workplace culture can negatively impact your disabled employees. 

For example, when hiring, you may state that applicants must have a driving license in your job advert. This is justified if the job requires this to complete the day-to-day responsibilities (like a bus driver). However, many disabled people do not have a driving license, and you may be putting them at an unnecessary disadvantage. 

In the workplace, you may have some policies that will impact disabled people more than non-disabled people. For example, if you hire someone with a physical disability and your office is on the second floor, you may be discriminating against them if they can only take the stairs.

If you’re unsure about whether your workplace policies may be discriminating against disabled people, contact an employment law help service like Simplify ER.

Preventing Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

An employment law help firm will likely recommend that you complete a risk assessment for your workplace to see if there are any policies or risks that may condone disability discrimination. It’s not a legal requirement, but it will make you aware of the ways your organisation may not be catering to disabled people’s needs.

The most important thing to remember is not to create blanket policies for disabled people – for example, a policy prohibiting disabled employees from performing specific tasks or responsibilities. There will be a high variation in disabled people’s abilities, even those with the same disability, and you should refrain from assuming people’s capabilities. 

Law help also states that you should make reasonable adjustments. The aim is to give all workers, disabled and non-disabled, equal access to everything required for the job, including physical workplaces and responsibilities. 

For more help with tackling disability discrimination in your workplace, contact Simplify ER. We offer personalised employment law help that will allow you to better support all of your employees.

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