Employers have new guide to disability and long-term health discrimination avoidance

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How can employers manage workplace disability and long-term health problems? Acas’ new guide, ‘Disability discrimination: key points for the workplace’, has launched to help companies understand what disability means, how it can happen and how to prevent and manage complaints in the workplace, as well as tackling and preventing discrimination in the workplace.

The new guide comes in light of four in ten disabled employees saying that they have found that misconceptions around their capability to work were the biggest barrier to getting hired. Acas has also had 12,000 calls to its helpline on disability-related discrimination this year.

The guide suggests that to prevent disability discrimination in recruitment, an employer should:

  • give the details about a vacancy in an alternative format;
  • accept applications in alternative formats;
  • be careful when writing an advertisement for a job vacancy and stay clear of any wording that they are unsure about or think might be open to legal challenge;
  • avoid advertising solely in one kind of place or media;
  • be aware that a job application form could inadvertently be discriminatory; and
  • only ask candidates to complete tests if they are relevant to the job, and where they are, make sure they can be accessed by people with a disability.

Acas head of equality, Steve Williams, said: “Disability is a complex area of employment law that can encompass many conditions or situations that employers may not be aware of. HIV, cancer, depression, phobias, diabetes or an impairment caused by obesity are all conditions that could be considered as a disability.

“Research shows that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds.”

Disability Rights UK chief executive, Liz Sayce OBE, added: “It's really important that people living with a health condition or disability know what they have a right to expect from their employer.

“It is also vital to de-mystify the law for employers, so they know what they need to do to tap into everyone's skills and enable disabled people to be fully included in the workplace.”

Carl Chapman, head of workplace health at Barnett Waddingham, has been blogging for Reward about wellbeing. Read his blog HERE, and watch an interview with him HERE.