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The Law about employing disabled people

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The Law about employing disabled people.


Since October 2004 it has been unlawful for any employer to discriminate against a disabled person because of their disability.


 Discrimination can take place in: 

·        Recruitment processes·        Terms and conditions of employment·        Promotion prospects·        Training opportunities·        Unfair dismissal·        Harassment or treating them unfairly


Discrimination can happen by: 

1.         Directly discriminating against a disabled person.
Where an employer’s treatment of a disabled person where the treatment is on the grounds of their disability and is less favourable than the way in which a person without that disability would be treated.

2.         Not making “reasonable adjustments” in the workplace
Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled job applicants or disabled staff when a provision, criteria or practice applied by the employer, or a physical feature of their premises, put the disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include:

·        Altering the person’s working hours·        Acquiring special equipment or modifying existing equipment·        Allowing absences during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment.·        Supplying additional training·        Modifying instructions for reference manuals·        Providing additional supervision and/or support·        Making physical adjustments to premises


What is “reasonable adjustment” There are several factors that can be taken into account when assessing whether an adjustment is reasonable these include:

·        How effective the adjustment is; does the adjustment actually reduce the disadvantage,  ·        How practical it is; is it achievable ·        The costs of the adjustment; employers don’t have to make an adjustment if the cost of the adjustment is disproportionate to the benefits.·        The employer’s financial resources; it is unreasonable to expect an employer to make adjustments where the costs of doing so are more than the business can afford. Although financial help if available needs to be taken into consideration.·        The nature of the employer’s activities and the size of the business; what maybe reasonably expected of large business may not be expected of a small one.


A point to bare in mind that the average cost of adoption is only £75 and that you can get help with the costs for this under the ‘access to work’ scheme, most adoptions actually cost nothing and may simply involve being more flexible in working practices and that an adapted work place generally is a better work place for all your employees.

3.         Treating a disabled person less favourably
Treatment of a disabled person is less favourable if the treatment is related to their disability and the treatment is less favourable than the way others are treated who do not have the same condition.

For example, if you do not give your disabled staff the same training opportunities as other staff then you are treating them less favourably.

4.         Harassing or victimising a disabled person

Harassment or victimisation occurs when a person behaves in a way that violates person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for a disabled person and this behaviour is because of that person’s disability.


 It is unlawful to victimise any person who has instigated or taken part in legal proceedings under the Act of who has alleged in good faith that someone else could be in breach of the Act.  


Source Disability Rights Commission

Employing people with disabilities


Resources Index


Disabled Workers Co-operative

The Disabled Workers Co-operative Ltd. Reg No. 4418227

Charity Reg No.1112402

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