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Disability Discrimination - The Net Widens - Expert Comments

Stuart Swan
1st Nov 2005

Do you have any employees suffering from MS, Cancer or HIV? If so be aware that these individuals are now likely to fall within the scope of the DDA and therefore you must consider the question of reasonable adjustments in respect of these employees’ jobs.

Deemed Disabilities
Requirement for mental illness to be “Clinically well recognised”
Discriminatory Job Advertisements

  1. The fact that an applicant does not have a disability,
  2. The fact that an applicant has not had a disability, or
  3. The fact that there appears to be a reluctance on the part of the person determining the application to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

David’s hints and tips for employers

  • Do you have any employees suffering from MS, Cancer or HIV? If so be aware that these individuals are now likely to fall within the scope of the DDA and therefore you must consider the question of reasonable adjustments in respect of these employees’ jobs.
  • Recognise that it may now be easier for those suffering from stress-related conditions to claim they are disabled.
  • Dealing with employees suffering from longer term stress-related illness is one of the most difficult issues for employers to grapple with in the modern workplace. Remember that disabled employees enjoy better rights in law than merely “sick” employees. Where in doubt about the steps to take in relation to a "stressed" employee, seek specialist medical and legal advice.
  • In your job advertisements, you should normally avoid obviously discriminatory descriptions of the person you want, such as “fit” or “energetic”. Occasionally, it may be possible to justify the use of such terms, but this will very much be the exception rather than the rule. Take legal advice if in doubt.
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