DRC calls for closure of loophole in disability Act

A
legal loophole allowing employers to discriminate against people with
conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis must be closed immediately,
according to the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

The
DRC is calling on the Government to urgently introduce legislation to cover
people with progressive conditions to ensure they are protected against
discrimination from the point at which they are diagnosed.

The
Government is due to publish new disability rights legislation in the summer,
but has not indicated when its draft Bill would become law – or what further
protection it would provide to disabled people.

Currently
the Disability Discrimination Act only provides protection when symptoms
develop which make it difficult for someone to carry out daily activities.

Bert
Massie, chairman of the DRC, said since the organisation’s creation three years
ago, there have been 2,000 situations where disabled people have been sacked
from work or refused access to services because they are not protected by the
law.

These
include the case of a man with a predisposition to Huntington’s disease – but
no symptoms – who was sacked because his employer feared that one day he might
contract the disease.

Massie
said: "The Government has signalled its willingness to introduce greater
protection for disabled people, but there is no timetable for action.

"It
is vital that some of these changes – such as bringing people with MS or cancer
within the protection of the law – are introduced this year."

By Ben Willmott

www.drc.org.uk

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