The University is committed to equal opportunities for disabled people in recruitment and employment and aims to create an environment which enables them to work effectively as part of the University community. The policy is in line with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice which sets out the commitments and responsibilities of members of the University.
The University believes in the value of a diverse workforce and this includes the representation of staff with disabilities. It, therefore, aims to create an accessible physical environment and an inclusive culture. More specifically, it aims to ensure that:
The Disability Discrimination Act, 1995, makes it unlawful, in the field of employment, to discriminate against disabled people, or people who have had a disability. The Act defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act,1995, discrimination may occur in two ways:
The University will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a person with a disability is not at any substantial disadvantage when compared to a non-disabled person.
Reasonable adjustments are changes to the employment arrangements or any physical feature of the workplace and can include:
• making adjustments to premises, fixtures and fittings, furniture and access to equipment
• allocating some of the work to another person
• transferring the employee to another post or another place of work
• being flexible about hours of work and allowing the employee to be away from the office for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment
• providing additional training
• using modified equipment
• making instructions and manuals more accessible
• enabling the use of a reader or interpreter
• Making special arrangements for parking and access to buildings
In all cases the University will consult with the person concerned about the reasonable accommodation of his or her needs. Decisions about whether an adjustment is reasonable will take into account all relevant factors including the cost of the measures, both financial and in terms of disruption to others, the practicality of making the change and the extent to which the adjustment will be of help to the employee or applicant with a disability and to other people.
The recruitment and selection of staff is guided by the University’s Code of Practice which aims to ensure the consistent and unbiased selection of the best candidate for each post. The following points highlight areas of particular relevance to candidates with disabilities within the recruitment and selection process:
Advice on the employment of disabled people can be obtained from the University’s Equality & Diversity Adviser and from the Disability Employment Adviser or the Access to Work Team at the Job Centre. Access to Work can also provide financial assistance to employers to enable a disabled person to start or continue in employment. Further information on Access to Work can be found on the Job Centre Plus Website.
In accordance with the Data Protection Act, any information given to the University regarding a disability will be treated in confidence. Once appointed, individuals will be asked whether they wish their colleagues to be informed of their disability and their wishes will be respected. However, unless line managers are allowed to have the necessary information, it may not be possible to put into place the required adjustments, nor to anticipate and make provision for future need. Completion of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring form is done in complete confidence and does not constitute disclosure of a disability to the University.
Training on Disability Awareness and Equality is included as part of the University’s annual training programme and staff are made aware of their rights and responsibilities through the Induction Programme. Disabled members of staff will not be disadvantaged in their opportunities for training and development. The Centre for Staff and Academic Practice Development responds to requests for adjustments or additional requirements (such as interpreters, large print or electronic versions of training materials) on internal training programmes and will advise on such provision for external training programmes.
Every effort will be made to provide other appropriate types of support for disabled members of staff. For example, where required, adjustments will be made to allow full participation in staff and team meetings. Regular reviews will take place to ensure that arrangements are in line with the needs of the individual.
The University is committed to improving the accessibility of its buildings. The University buildings have been audited for physical accessibility for people with physical and sensory disabilities. Recommendations have been made and work to improve access began in the Summer, 2002. All support services (library etc) and academic departments are currently reviewing their accessibility, and working towards improving access to publications and other learning materials (e.g. by providing materials in a variety of formats). A Physical Accessibility Guide to the University can be found on the University website
Where practicable, the University will also make adjustments to the immediate working environment of a disabled person, for example, the provision of special furniture, equipment or signage or will endeavour to find a more appropriate location for a post where the established location is unsuitable.
It may be necessary, on occasion, to make special arrangements to ensure that a person’s impairment, or an issue relating to it, does not create a hazard for themselves or for others. Arrangements, for example, for the safe evacuation of persons identified as being especially at risk from fire can be found within the Fire Emergency Plan. In all cases members of staff with disabilities that affect their mobility in an emergency will be consulted about their individual needs for evacuating the building in a safe and dignified manner, in advance of any emergency and a personal plan produced.
All members of staff will be asked on an annual basis whether they have a condition or disability for which the University ought to consider reasonable adjustments. When employees become disabled during the course of their employment, all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that they are able to remain in employment at the University. The Personnel Officer will work with the individual concerned, their line manager, the University’s Occupational Health Service and/or other appropriate specialist agencies to assess the impact of the disability and identify appropriate options. These could include:
When taking disciplinary action against a disabled employee the University will fully consider whether there are reasons related to their disability for a disabled employee behaving in the way that has led to the disciplinary action. This is to ensure that there is no discrimination that is just due to disability.
It will ensure that the disabled person is treated fairly in terms of having time to prepare for any such proceedings, so that they are not placed at a disadvantage compared to non disabled employees. It will also check whether “reasonable adjustments” need to be made in relation to arrangements for disciplinary action or interviews.
The University will ensure that, in the event of potential redundancies, selection criteria do not discriminate against disabled employees. It will also ensure that any arrangements that are made for consultation do not discriminate against disabled employees.
All employees are expected to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect. Any form of harassment of a disabled person on account of their disability is unacceptable behaviour and is unlawful under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act. Incidents of harassment may be grounds for disciplinary action and individuals are also personally liable under law.
The Policy on the Prevention of Harassment contains guidance on dealing with harassment.
The University monitors the numbers of disabled people who apply for posts, those who are short listed, selected and those who are existing employees. Knowing the proportion of disabled people at various levels of the University, and at various stages in relation to the recruitment process, can help determine where practices and policies need to be improved. This information is collected on a confidential basis through the Equal Opportunities Monitoring procedure and is reported anonymously to the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Project Group. Where changes or improvements are required this Group may then make recommendations to the Disability Working Party and the Equality & Divesity Forum for their consideration.
The University will produce an Action Plan to ensure the full implementation of the policy and this will be reviewed on an annual basis.
Approved by University Council 8.12.04