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Acas publishes new guide to help prevent disability discrimination in the workplace

Thursday 03 December 2015

Workplace expert, Acas, has launched a new guide today to help employers and managers identify, tackle and prevent disability discrimination in the workplace.

The new free guide 'pdf icon Disability discrimination: key points for the workplace [601kb]' helps employers get to grips with what disability means, how it can happen and how to prevent and manage complaints in the workplace.

Over the past year, the Acas helpline dealt with around 12,000 calls on disability related discrimination. Over four out of ten disabled people seeking work found that misconceptions around their capability to work were the biggest barrier to getting hired.

Acas Head of Equality, Steve Williams, said:

"Disability is a complex area of employment law that can encompass many conditions or situations that employers may not be aware of. HIV, cancer, depression, phobias, diabetes or an impairment caused by obesity are all conditions that could be considered as a disability.

"We have published this new free guide to help employers understand the basics around equality and disability discrimination as falling on the wrong side of the law can result in a costly employment tribunal."

To try to prevent disability discrimination in recruitment, an employer should:

  • give the details about a vacancy in an alternative format
  • accept applications in alternative formats
  • be careful when writing an advertisement for a job vacancy and stay clear of any wording that they are unsure about or think might be open to legal challenge
  • avoid advertising solely in one kind of place or media
  • be aware that a job application form could inadvertently be discriminatory; and
  • only ask candidates to complete tests if they are relevant to the job, and where they are, make sure they can be accessed by people with a disability.

Steve added:

"Research shows that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds.

"Our new guidance covers the different types of disability and practical steps on how to prevent discrimination and deal with it if it happens."

Disability Rights UK Chief Executive, Liz Sayce OBE, said:

"It's really important that people living with a health condition or disability know what they have a right to expect from their employer.

"It is also vital to de-mystify the law for employers, so they know what they need to do to tap into everyone's skills and enable disabled people to be fully included in the workplace.

"Acas' guide should be useful for both employees and employers and we will be making it available on our website."

The new guide is available from the Disability discrimination page and is part of a series of Acas equality guides.

Notes to editors

  1. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  2. DWP research has revealed that 42% of disabled people seeking work found the biggest barrier to getting hired were misconceptions around what they would be capable of.
  3. For media enquiries please contact Lou Owen, Communications Manager 0207 210 3920 For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.