Responsibilities of employers
Employers have the same legal responsibilities as education organisations, in terms of avoiding discrimination and making reasonable adjustments.
The main difference to the education provisions of the Act is that employers do not have to make adjustments to their premises or working practices until they are actually needed by a disabled employee or applicant.
Employers must, however, take reasonable steps to find out if an employee or applicant is a disabled person.
With the contract of employment, different legal provisions come into play. Under Part 5 of the Equality Act 2010, discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment and occupation including recruitment and selection, including advertising jobs; retention of employees; promotion and training.
- Direct discrimination (which includes treating someone less favourably directly because of their disability) is unlawful
- Discrimination arising from disability (treating someone less favourably than others for a reason relating to their disability) is unlawful
- Reasonable adjustments are expected in all aspects of employment, so must be made to working conditions, job descriptions, training, progression and the workplace environment to enable or help disabled people to do their job
- Harassment at work is discriminatory
- An employer must not victimise or treat unfavourably someone disabled or not, because they have made allegations of discrimination or brought a complaint or any action under the Act. A complaint of discrimination may be presented to an Employment Tribunal (Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland).