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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
Blind people 'face job prejudice'
Sight test
Victims of sight problems "face discrimination by employers"
More than 90% of employers may be breaking the law by discriminating against blind or partially sighted job seekers, a report has warned.

The dossier, Beyond the Stereotypes, was published by the Royal National Institute of the Blind in Scotland.

The charity said 92% of employers surveyed believed it would be "difficult or impossible" to employ someone with a sight problem.

Firms could be found in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Researchers said that employers put the blind and partially sighted top of a list of people they would not take on.

Employers' attitudes need to undergo a sea-change to end this vicious circle of exclusion.
Billy Watson
RNIB Scotland
That meant that at least three quarters of blind and partially sighted would-be workers are without a job, the charity claimed.

RNIB Scotland's acting director Billy Watson said: "Ignorance and outdated attitudes are preventing blind and partially sighted people getting into work.

"It doesn't have to be this way. Blind and partially sighted people can excel in a range of jobs."

He added: "Employers' attitudes need to undergo a sea-change to end this vicious circle of exclusion.

"We need employers to find out about the support available to them from government schemes such as Access to Work and from organisations like RNIB Scotland."

Michael Young, 28, from Dunfermline, works in the electronic industry and has been given help to stay in his job after he started to lose his sight.

'Very supportive'

He said: "A lot of my work is PC based and I am using software magnification and a built-in closed circuit television camera to blow up screen images.

"The government's Access to Work scheme met most of the cost of the equipment."

Mr Young added: "My boss was very supportive and proactive and the support from RNIB Scotland was excellent.

"Without this help I wouldn't have been able to keep my job."

The report coincides with a campaign calling on bosses to change their belief that employing people with sight problems is too difficult or expensive.

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