Be aware of changes to disability laws

Pre-employment screening, where it relates to a medical condition, may be
discriminatory, and employers cannot employ someone or choose not to keep them
because they don’t want to make reasonable adjustments.

This is according to Liz Burchett, diversity and equality officer at the
University Of Sussex.

Burchett, herself a wheelchair user, was giving delegates an update on
recent changes to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and their
implications for OH in caring for disabled staff.

Burchett reviewed the amended regulations that come into force next October.
She reminded delegates that from that date, employers will not be able to
justify blanket discrimination on health grounds. So job advertisements, for
example, must not specify ‘good health’, although specific standards for
certain jobs will still be permissible.

Delegates were asked to work in pairs to look over some legal case studies
and discuss their outcomes. This included an employer’s failure to make
reasonable adjustments, culminating in the dismissal of a client with
stress-induced depression.

Burchett also explained that in its proposed Bill, the Disability Rights
Commission wants HIV to be covered from diagnosis, cancer covered from
diagnosed, as ‘likely to require substantial treatment’, and all progressive
conditions covered from diagnosis.

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