The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) is the main piece of legislation which makes it unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person in their terms of employment, promotion opportunities, or by dismissing them. It defines disability thus: ‘There must be a mental or physical condition which has a substantial and long-term adverse affect on the employee’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’
Under the DDA it is unlawful for an employer to subject a disabled person to harrassment or victimisation, and fail to provide any necessary reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and applicants. Many companies are now taking steps to ensure people with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the workplace. For example, Scope, a UK disability organisation whose focus is people with cerebral palsy, offers a programme called Leadership Recruitment, which aims to increase the numbers of disabled people entering employment at graduate level, and promotes leadership opportunities for disabled people. ‘Disabled people are vastly under-represented in the UK workforce – because significant barriers are preventing them, such as physical inaccessibility,’ says Beth Rice,
Leadership Manager at Scope. ‘As well as providing talented disabled individuals with their first career step, Leadership Recruitment gives participating companies insight into how to include disabled individuals in their workplaces, and provides direct experience of the benefits of workforce diversity.’
Another organisation helping people with disabilities into employment is EmployAbility. Their highly experienced team offers undergraduates and graduates alike support with CV and application form writing, mock interview sessions and, most importantly, information and actual opportunities to join internships, work experience and graduate programmes with top employers from the leading firms in all sectors including finance, media, law and management consultancy. EmployAbility also provides a range of tailored services to employers, assisting them to become disability inclusive and works with universities delivering on site presentations, training and workshop sessions for students.
‘We work with students and graduates with disabilities, some of who may find it difficult to gain a place on an internship or graduate programme, even though they are extremely talented. We offer excellent opportunities with leading global recruiters, providing support and guidance throughout the recruitment process and beyond,’ says Sarah Denness, Senior Manager at EmployAbility. ‘These opportunities provide our students and graduates a platform to really shine and gain confidence in their abilities’. For more information on EmployAbility go to www.Employ-Ability.org.uk
- There are over 6.8 million people of working age in Great Britain with a disabling condition (one in five of the working population).
- One million disabled people who are unemployed say they would like to work.
- Disabled people are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be out of work and claiming benefits.
- One in four children living in poverty has at least one disabled parent.
- (Sources: ONS, Labour Force Survey (UK); Joseph Rowntree Foundation)