Disability and Employment

Supporting disabled staff

As a major employer, we recognise the importance of attracting, supporting and retaining disabled members of staff, making reasonable adjustments as appropriate to remove any disadvantage. The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies in recruitment and during all stages of employment, and as such covers both employees and job applicants.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person in relation to the recruitment or retention of staff. The Statutory Code of Practice on Employment provides a detailed explanation of how the law applies in the workplace.

The Act defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. ‘Long-term’ means that the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months or for the rest of the affected person’s life; ‘substantial’ means more than minor or trivial.

It is not always immediately obvious who is disabled; as well as covering ‘visible’ impairments, the Act also affords protection to those with hidden impairments such as mental illness, learning disabilities, dyslexia, diabetes and epilepsy. People with cancer, HIV or multiple sclerosis are automatically covered by the Act from point of diagnosis. Non-disabled people are also protected against disability discrimination where they are perceived to have a disability or are associated with a disabled person.

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