December 4, 2015
A new guide to help employers and managers identify, tackle and prevent disability discrimination in the workplace has been published by Acas. The new free guide ‘Disability discrimination: key points for the workplace’ helps employers get to grips with what disability means, how it can happen and how to prevent and manage complaints in the workplace. Iver the past year, the Acas helpline dealt with around 12,000 calls on disability related discrimination. Over four out of ten disabled people seeking work found that misconceptions around their capability to work were the biggest barrier to getting hired. According to Acas’ Head of Equality, Steve Williams: “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.”
He adds: “We have published this new free guide to help employers understand the basics around equality and disability discrimination as falling on the wrong side of the law can result in a costly employment tribunal.”
To try 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.
Williams added: “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.
“Our new guidance covers the different types of disability and practical steps on how to prevent discrimination and deal with it if it happens.”
Disability Rights UK Chief Executive, Liz Sayce OBE, said: “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.
“Acas’ guide should be useful for both employees and employers and we will be making it available on our website.”
The new guide can be downloaded here and is part of a series of Acas equality guides.