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Disability is a ‘protected characteristic’ under discrimination law. Employers are required to promote equal opportunities for disabled employees right though from the recruitment stage to any point during the employment relationship to ensure that the workplace and day to day operation at work does not disadvantage disabled employees. If an employer dismisses an employee because of a disability, this would also be disability discrimination.
A disability may be a physical or mental condition which impacts significantly on day to day activities. Medical conditions such as dyslexia, depression, cancer and autism are examples of disabilities.
Employers may sometimes opt to challenge whether an employee is disabled in line with the legal definition at which point medical evidence could be put forth to be considered by an Employment Tribunal.
Disability discrimination can take many forms. Discrimination based on an issue arising out of disability such as sickness absence, including less favourable treatment because of a disability, or a failure by an employer to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disabled employee.
Employers must ensure that the selection criteria for making employees redundant are fair and objective and that the selection criteria do not disadvantage a particular group of employees.
It is not lawful to make an employee redundant because of their age, and if you think this could happen or has happened to you, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible so that you can take action to protect yourself.
In order to succeed in a claim for discrimination, you will need to put forward facts from which it can be presumed that there has been discrimination. An Employment Tribunal will usually seek to take a wide view as to what can be established from these facts whilst taking into account the employer’s version of events. Once such facts have been established, the burden is then on the employer to disprove the discrimination claimed.
The process of bringing a claim against an employer can involve the opportunity to ask questions and make disclosure requests in order to obtain further information in support of your claim. Evasive responses to these questions can lead to inferences of discrimination by an Employment Tribunal.
High quality legal advice at an early stage can make huge differences in case outcomes. It is essential to ensure the relevant facts are put forward clearly and robustly to achieve a tactical advantage and to put pressure on your employer from the outset.
The employment team at Vardags is well placed to draft employment claims which put you in the best position to win your claim or to achieve the best possible settlement.
Your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work.
If you have a disability which is not readily apparent to your employer, then making them aware could trigger the duty to make the reasonable adjustments needed.
Not every workplace adjustment will be reasonable. Your employer’s size and level of resources will be a relevant consideration. Reasonable adjustments can range from making physical alteration to the work premises to changing working hours or patterns, for example.
An employer should think outside the box about how best to help its disabled employees. Some employers will seek recommendations from an occupational health adviser about this.
If your employer is failing to make adjustments, the employment team at Vardags can help you to plan a way forward either to secure the reasonable adjustments needed or to seek compensation for disability discrimination.
If ageist comments are being made about you, you may have a claim for harassment which is a type of age discrimination. For example, if a comment is made that you are too old to get to grips with technology at work, this would amount to age discrimination.
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