Disabled workers share the same general employment rights as other workers, but there are also some special provisions under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Under the DDA, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people, for a reason related to their disability, in all aspects of employment, unless this can be justified. This includes:
- application forms
- interview arrangements
- proficiency tests
- job offers
- terms of employment
- promotion, transfer or training opportunities
- work-related benefits such as access to recreation or refreshment facilities
- dismissal or redundancy
Before October 2004, the Act only applied to employers with 15 or more staff. Employers with fewer than 15 staff are now included.
Disability discrimination at work
If you believe that your employer has treated you less favourably than others for a reason related to your disability, or if your employer has not made reasonable adjustments for you in the workplace, you may want to consider further action. There are a number of actions you might take.
Action to take if you are discriminated against
As a first step, you might want to have an informal discussion with your employer about your needs and why you feel you are being discriminated against. Remind your employer of your rights and their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act.
If this discussion does not provide a satisfactory outcome, you could make a complaint about your treatment through your employer’s internal grievance procedure.
If you are still not satisfied, you might want to contact the Disability Rights Commission or Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), or follow the ‘Questions Procedure’ or make a complaint to the Employment Tribunal.
The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) provides advice to disabled people about their employment rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Reasonable adjustments in the workplace
Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) your employer has certain duties to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that you are not put at a substantial disadvantage by their employment arrangements or by any physical feature of the workplace.
Examples of the sort of adjustments your employer should consider in consultation with you, are set out in the DDA and include:
- making adjustments to the buildings where you work
- allocating some of your work to someone else
- transferring you to another post or another place of work
- being flexible about your hours – allowing you to have different core working hours and to be away from the office for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment
- providing training
- using modified equipment
- making instructions and manuals more accessible
- using a reader or interpreter