As with our employees, Huntswood does not discriminate against our associates or their staff based on disability.
Definition of Disability
A person will be classed as disabled in law if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term (12 months or more) adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
There is no need for an individual to be registered as disabled to qualify for protection.
Examples of conditions that may amount to a disability:
- progressive conditions such as muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
- cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV
- severe disfigurement
- mental illness, depression, anxiety, ME and dyslexia
In respect of a disability, you must not:
- treat an individual less favourably because of a disability;
- impose a provision, criterion or practice that puts a disabled individual at a disadvantage; or
- treat an individual unfavourably because of something arising from his or her disability, unless justified
Reasonable adjustments must be made when balanced against business needs, for example by adjusting working hours and allowing someone with a stress-related illness a later or flexible start time, or more frequent rest breaks.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments arises only where you know, or reasonably ought to know, that an individual is disabled.
- making reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process
- doing things another way (e.g. allowing someone with social anxiety disorder to have their own desk instead of hot-desking)
- making physical changes (e.g. installing a ramp for a wheelchair user or an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person)
- letting a disabled person work somewhere else (e.g. on the ground floor for a wheelchair user)
- changing their equipment (e.g. providing a special keyboard if they have arthritis)
Adjustments must be made only if it is reasonable to do so. What is a reasonable thing to ask for depends on:
- the disability
- how practicable the changes are
- if the change asked for would overcome the disadvantage experienced
- the size of the organisation
- how much money and resources are available/the cost of making the change
- if any changes have already been made
The Equality Act states there's a duty to make reasonable adjustments if an individual is placed at a substantial disadvantage because of their disability compared to non-disabled people or people who don’t share the disability. Substantial means more than minor or trivial.
Dealing with an Individual with a Disability
When managing someone with a disability, consideration, patience and support should be shown to help the individual cope with the working environment.
- Adopt an open-minded, objective and supportive approach by assessing thoroughly what adjustments could reasonably be made
- Discuss the situation fully and openly with the individual and seek his or her views on what changes to working practices or physical alterations might be helpful
- What we can do to support them
- Whether their doctor has recommended anything
- If there is anything else that can be done where adjustments have been made but there are service delivery issues
- Make a full and proper assessment of the individual’s abilities
- Raise any service delivery concerns with the individual and seek his or her views on any reasonable adjustments they feel they may require to improve service delivery.
- Give full and fair consideration to all reasonable possibilities
- Make a written record of the discussions held and send this to the individual following the meeting to confirm what was discussed and agreed
- Consider seeking medical advice about the effects of the individual’s condition, and his or her abilities. This should be discussed with the Operations Manager to determine if applicable
- Seek advice from Legal, via the Huntswood EM/SDM, where:
- There are exceptions
- The individual in unable to deliver the service and reasonable adjustments have been made
- View the disabled individual as being a nuisance
- Make assumptions about the disabled individual’s abilities, or about what he or she would find helpful
- Rush into any decision in respect of an individual who has become disabled without considering all of the circumstances
- Overlook the disabled individual’s skills, experience and general qualities
- Ask someone if they have a disability – they need to choose to disclose it
- Ask for medical evidence