Bias act proposal would protect the terminally ill

to extend the Disability Discrimination Act will mean that 7 million additional
employees will be protected.

will not be able to discriminate against staff with terminal diseases such as
cancer or HIV.

the proposals, someone diagnosed as HIV positive would be classified as
disabled and protected from discrimination even if they had not developed the
debilitating symptoms of full-blown Aids.

Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, said, "This is the
most significant programme of disability rights reforms for 30 years.
Clarifying the definition of disability should reduce the number of cases that
need to be resolved through legal action."

proposals are in the Government report, Towards Inclusion – Civil Rights for
Disabled People, and the DfEE intends to introduce them as legislation in the
next parliamentary session.

Leighton, professor of European law at the University of Glamorgan, said,
"Companies will have to change their personnel structures to comply ñ
organisations will have to look at how they terminate contracts and the roles
of occupational health officers."

such as health workers, who are encouraged by employers to disclose whether
they have HIV will receive greater protection.

Theobold, head of personnel at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust, said,
"This will strengthen our hand when we have discussions about this with
our managers. It will reinforce good practice, rather than being an operational

Opportunities Minister Margaret Hodge announced the proposals last week, which
include making smaller firms improve accessibility for disabled people by 2004
and removing a get out clause of "reasonable effort" to comply.

Richard Staines

Comments are closed.