This is the executive summary of an excellent document prepared especially for diabetes-insight.org.uk by Lady J, one of the members of our forum, who is an employment lawyer by profession. The full document can be downloaded in .pdf format (see home page for a link to download Adobe reader should you require it).
- The Disability Discrimination Act is designed to stop discrimination against disabled people in the work place;
- In many cases, people with diabetes will be considered to be disabled for the purposes of the Act;
- Whether or not someone is disabled will depend on their own individual circumstances;
- The Act is designed to prevent four main types of discrimination:
- Direct discrimination (discrimination against someone because they have diabetes);
- Disability-related discrimination (discrimination against someone for a reason related to their diabetes – for example, because they spend too much time away from their desk testing blood glucose);
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments (all employers must consider making reasonable adjustments for their disabled employees); and
- Victimisation (taking action against someone because they have complained of being discriminated against or because they have complained about a failure to make reasonable adjustments).
- The Act protects people from discrimination in employment at the stage of recruitment, whilst in employment and after their employment has ended;
- Disability-related discrimination is one of the more common forms of discrimination , but it may be justified in certain circumstances where, for example, it is not possible for the employer to employ the employee safely;
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments is also common. A reasonable adjustment could be time off to attend a clinic appointments, or provision of a clean, private place to take blood glucose readings;
- An employer can be expected not to discriminate for a disability-related reason even where they are not aware of the disability. However, they cannot be expected to make reasonable adjustments where they are not reasonably aware of the disability in question – it is advised that you tell your employer that you have diabetes;
- If you feel you have been discriminated against, try to resolve this internally first by raising it informally or, if necessary, raising a grievance;
- It may be possible to bring an action in the employment tribunal for compensation or to force your employer to make reasonable adjustments.
We would like to thank Jenny for her hard work in preparing these documents.