AE1.1 ‘An act to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons in connection with employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services or the disposal or management of premises; to make provision about the employment of disabled persons; and to establish a National Disability Council.’ [8th Nov 1995] This advice is a reminder and update of advice produced in consultation with the AOP, the ABDO, the College, FODO and the Disability Rights Commission.
AE1.2 Disabled People – A person is disabled if he/she has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The effect must be substantial (that is, more than minor or trivial), and adverse, and long term (that is, likely or is likely to last for at least a year or for the rest of the life of the person affected):
AE1.3.1 This duty applies to all employers regardless of how many staff you have.
You must not discriminate against a disabled person in relation to the recruitment or retention of staff. There are four forms of discrimination which are unlawful:
AE1.3.2 The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies for example, to selection and interview procedures and the premises used for such procedures, as well as to job offers, contractual arrangements and working conditions. Reasonable adjustments may include:
This is not an exhaustive list and it might be reasonable for you to take other steps. The employer owes the duty to the individual employee and does not have to anticipate the disabled person’s requirements. However, although there is no duty under Part 2 of the Act to anticipate the needs of disabled people in general, you should keep all your policies under review and consider the needs of disabled people in the process. It would also be sensible and cost-effective to consider access issues during any major alterations to the work place environment.
AE1.3.3 Access to Work – In the event that your employment duties are triggered when an employee becomes disabled, you employ a disabled person or when a disabled person applies for a job you may get help from ‘Access to Work’ (AtW). AtW provides advice and practical support to disabled people and their employers to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. In addition AtW pays a grant, through Jobcentre Plus, towards any extra employment costs that result from disability.
AE1.3.4 The Disability Symbol – The Disability Symbol is a recognition given by Jobcentre Plus to employers who have agreed to meet five commitments regarding employment, retention, training and career development of disabled employees:
AE1.3.5 Policies, Procedures and Practices – As an employer you may be liable for any discrimination which happens in the work place whether or not you are aware of it! You should therefore have anti-discriminatory policies and practices and make all staff aware of them. If such policies and training can be demonstrated an employer may be able to defend themselves in a legal action.
A primary area of attention is training for all staff on your policy towards disabled people and their legal rights, disability awareness and disability etiquette.
Your responsibilities as an employer under the DDA:
Types Of Discrimination – there are four kinds of discrimination:
When Is Justification Relevant? Justification is NOT relevant in cases about:
Justification is relevant in cases about:
AE14.1 Unlike the duties as an employer the duties as a service provider are anticipatory and the duty is owed to all disabled people. It requires the service provider to plan ahead.
You must not discriminate against a disabled person because of their disability. This could include:
A service provider will have to take reasonable steps to:
The legislation does not deal with the above concepts hierarchically: the question is what is reasonable. In broad terms, reasonableness will depend on the type of service being provided; the nature of the service provider and its size and resources; and the effect of the disability on the individual disabled person. The Disability Rights Commission’s statutory Code of Practice (Rights of Access: Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises) covers the legal position and may assist service providers’ legal advisors to give best advice. However, the fact remains that the DDA is an evolving piece of legislation and the concept of what is reasonable will develop and change as legal precedents are set.
AE1.4.2 You must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
AE1.5.1 All your staff must be aware of the law. They need to know that services for disabled patients are more than just a part of good customer care. All staff should have disability awareness training covering the etiquette of serving patients with the full range of disabilities.
AE1.5.2 Training should be carried out by suitably qualified trainers. The Disability Rights Commission website has a list of licensed trainers who have been licensed to use the DRC Best Practice Trainers Resource Pack to train others in DDA implementation. There are also numerous organisations and companies who can provide training for your staff either on-site or by distance learning. The DRC has a list of organisations and companies which provide training; however, it is not exhaustive and does not imply endorsement. When commissioning training identify what you need for your staff, and explore with potential trainers what they are willing and able, to undertake.
AE1.6 How Friendly, Or Otherwise, Is Your Practice to Disabled Patients?
AE1.7 To minimise the possibility of a County Court action or employment tribunal emphasis should be put on internal grievance procedures to handle any claims of disability discrimination. If a claim is upheld the court can make a declaration, award compensation for financial loss, injury to feelings and issue an injunction to prevent future discriminatory acts. In a case in 2003 Purves v Joydisc where an appeal against the level of damages was heard, the Court of Session found that £750 is the least that can be awarded ‘for the very slightest injury to feelings’. If a claim is upheld at employment tribunal compensation can be claimed for loss of earnings, personal injuries, injury to feelings and aggravated damages.