IC Laws in Employment

Whether employed full time, part time, on a contract or 0 hours workers within the UK, you will be protected by the Equality Act 2010

Firstly to be protected in law, you must meet the employer's requirements for the job, such as education, employment experience, skills or licenses without consideration to your illness. It is your responsibility to ensure you are able to perform the fundamental parts of the job duties related to the role with or without reasonable adjustments (like talking on the phone, writing, any necessity). An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job, which is why they are unable to request information on your condition at this stage (except for company equality records).

Once you begin employment with someone, be sure they are aware of your condition and that this impacts to the extent classified as a disability (Long-term substantially impacting). Once your employment begins and your Employer is aware of your disability, you have the right to request reasonable adjustments; Your employer also has the opportunity to instruct an Occupational Health Specialist to provide clarity, assurance, information on actions required, and how to manage this particular employee. Under the Equality Act 2010, an occupational health assessment is advised and should be instructed by the employer. 

The Equality Act 2010 protects you within employment, it demands that you must not be discriminated against, in the following ways:

  • The way that they offer employment, promotion opportunities they offer, transfers, training or for any other benefit or opportunity. This means that effectively, your disability should not have any detrimental impact on your access to these.

  • In your dismissal or decisions leading to this.

  • Any other detriment or negative experience in relation to your disability.

The Act also ensures that employers behave in the following way:

  • The employer may ask about your disability; only if on the basis that it is to findout if they are required to carry out an assessment, when they are considering reasonable adjustments, to confirm if you are able to carry out aspects of your specific role or to monitor diversity. (This must not be considered in other contexts and decisions made should be formal, in writing ideally.)

  • There is a duty to make reasonable adjustments within employers. You are welcome to suggest reasonable adjustments, explaining that you require the reasonable adjustment and how it would help. If your employer decides against it, they must explain why it is unreasonable for them. (When discussion of adjustments is had, it is good practice to then assign the occupational health assessment, so that the employer has a clearer picture of how they can help. If you disagree with the decision, you can take this further, following proceedings within your organisation firstly).

  • An employer or colleague must not harass a person who is or has applied for employment based on a disability. Harassment is any unwanted conduct you receive with the intention of creating an intimidating, humiliating, degrading, offensive or hostile environment or energy towards you. It can also be when someone offends your dignity with intent regarding your disability. (If you experience this, I urge you to follow the companies complaints process and ensure you follow things with emails and in writing. Companies often back the person who has done wrong, it is a tactic used to keep claims at bay, but it leaves so many of us suffering in silence).

  • Victimisation is significantly protected by the act. In law, victimisation is when you are treated poorly or in a detrimental way simply because you were going to or decided to take action with regards to your disability and what you have faced. Whistleblowing in a way, and getting treated unfairly for it.

What to do when discrimination happens to you?

  1. Follow the complaints procedure of the company or employer, it is significantly important to follow the complaints procedure or appeal decisions where advised of an opportunity if you disagree.  

  2. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the company directly, You are able to get in touch with ACAS; who are able to advise and mediate issues through the fulfilment of step one and to enable you to proceed further if need be. To take any argument to a tribunal, you will be required to have a certificate issued by ACAS.

  3. If you do not reach a resolution, you will receive a certificate that allows you to submit your claim to the Employment tribunal. this process is explained by Citizens Advice and through the government website.

We spend the majority of our lives working and we deserve to feel respected in our workplace. We deserve to feel at ease and able to find comfort in the fact that IC is not determining our successes. If this is not how you feel, then it is not the right way; you should seek your peace in your workplace.