Over 600,000 disabled people in work will have their legal
rights extended, according to a government report released this morning.
The Government will amend the Disability Discrimination Act
to widen the definition of disability.
Key changes include removing the provision that allows
employers to justify failure to comply, and repealing the small employer threshold
for non-compliance in 2004.
Over 7 million additional employees will be included within
the remit of the Act, including staff with cancer and HIV.
The report, called Towards inclusion – civil rights for
disabled people, addresses all 156 recommendations of the Disability Rights
“This is the most significant programme of reforms since
disability rights legislation was first introduced 30 years ago. Once these
measures are implemented we will all be living in a much fairer and inclusive
society,” said Bert Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission.
“Clarifying the definition of disability should reduce the
number of cases that need to be resolved through legal action.
“Today’s announcement is tremendous news for disabled people
but we must ensure the talk is swiftly turned into action.”