TUC calls for action for disabled people at work

The
TUC is asking trade union members to sign a petition calling for the Government
to introduce a new law to provide equal rights for disabled people and correct
the weaknesses of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The
Government has announced it intends to introduce a new Bill, and the TUC is
urging it to begin consultation as soon as possible so that the law is in force
no later than 2004.

In
1999, the Disability Rights Task Force recommended 156 changes to the Disability
Discrimination Act 1995 and the TUC believes the new Bill is the best means of
making the large number of remaining improvements, including:


broadening the definition of disability to include those unfairly outside of
the law’s protection, particularly people with mental health problems


removing the unjustified exemptions from disability discrimination law for a
range of particular jobs, as well as for firms with fewer than 15 employees


close the loophole established in a recent court decision that allows employers
to discriminate on the grounds of disability as long as they have justified
their decision, even if the justification is flawed

Brendan
Barber, TUC general-secretary elect, said: "The number and proportion of
disabled people in work is slowly increasing, but there are still more than one
million unemployed disabled people who want to work. The discrimination that
pushes disabled unemployment rate up to double that of non-disabled must be
made illegal as quickly as possible. Our petition calls for urgent government
action during this European Year of Disabled People.’

By Quentin Reade

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