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EDITIONS
Breakfast Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Disability and Work
Enabled not disabled

There are two Acts of Parliament which prevent discrimination against disabled people:

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, applicable to companies with over 15 employees, gives disabled people the same rights as everybody else. The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) Act 1999, promotes equal opportunites and the elimination of discrimination.

So, from the initial job selection process to doing the work, getting a promotion, career development and redundancy or dismissal, you're covered.

What kind of practical help can I have?

The Access To Work programme has loads of options for disabled people. They can help provide:

  • A communicator for people with hearing difficulties
  • A reader for someone with visual difficulties
  • A support worker for someone who needs help getting to and from work
  • Alterations to a vehicle or help towards taxi fares or other transport costs for someone having difficulty getting around
  • Alterations to equipment
  • Alterations to premises or the working environment, such as installing alarm systems or adapting a lift
  • Plus, your employer only has to pay the first 100 and the programme will foot the rest of the bill

    Your employer should help by:

  • Changing work hours
  • Arranging extra training
  • Transferring certain duties to other employees
  • Plus, the company must make adjustments to help your career development, like making a training venue accessible to wheelchair users
  • You just have to be able to show that the change is necessary for you to work effectively and productively

    And if they fire me?

  • They'd have to have a very good reason. For example, if your disability makes it impossible for you to do your job.
  • They'd have to prove that the problem couldn't be solved by an adjustment of any kind.
  • If you have any complaints, take them up with your employer first.
  • If you're not happy with the response, take your complaint to ACAS - They always try to solve the problem without going to an employment tribunal.
  • Check out the booklet How to Apply to an Employment Tribunal at any JobCentre or Citizens' Advice Bureau
  • Call the Disabilty Rights Commission (DRC) or order/download any of the publications from the website.

    You can also:

  • Speak to the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local job centre
  • Contact ACAS, which produces all sorts of leaflets and guides.
  • Read the Make It Work booklet from your local JobCentre, which outlines the specialist services available (also available on video with sign language and subtitles)
  • Disability Service programmes are available on audiotape or in Braille
  • Talk to the Disabilty Rights Commission (DRC), or take a look at their website.

    Further Information

    Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Tel: 01455 852 225 Website: www.acas.org.uk

    Disability Rights Commission (DRC) Tel: 08457 622 633 (helpline) Textphone: 08457 622 644 Website: www.disability.gov.uk Email: enquiry@drc-gb.org or visit

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