Call for employers to open jobs to disabled

Four years
after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, a raft of
initiatives are being launched to get employers on board.

The
Disability Rights Commission, set up to give teeth to the Act, is launching its
first major initiative since its creation last April. The Actions Speak Louder
Than Words initiative, due to be launched by Tony Blair on 11 December, will
see employers pledge to increase the number of disabled people they employ. The
anniversary also coincides with the European Day of Disabled People on 3
December.

Lloyds
TSB, the TUC and bus company Arriva have been recruited by the commission to
take part in its initiative. It is hoped their example will lead to a host of
other organisations signing up.

A
commission spokesman said the initiative aimed to create a “trickle down
effect” that would help disabled people both in the workplace and in their
day-to-day lives.

Bert
Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, said, “There is this view
from some quarters of business that we want to see blind people as fighter
pilots. They (businesses) do not seek to ask the basic questions that they ask
in all other employment contexts: has this person got the skills to do this
job?”

Lawyers
expect a rise in the number of cases taken by the commission over the next year
to provide greater clarification of the law.

Rob
McCreath, employment partner at Eversheds, said, “It is still a difficult area
because it is often hard to get to the bottom of whether someone is suffering
from a mental health-related disability and where to draw the line to accommodate
a disability.”

By Helen
Rowe

Comments are closed.