Category: DISABILITY

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The truth behind rising disabled employment: cuts, death and zero-hour contracts

The disability employment gap is narrowing, but this is against a backdrop of sanctions, funding cuts and insecure employment Lawrence Bond suffered from a heart condition, shortness of breath and struggled with mobility. His GP had reportedly also made two referrals for mental health services. But, despite all that, the 56-year-old was declared “fit to work” at an assessment in July. As a result, Bond’s benefits were slashed and he was told to get down to his local Jobcentre in Kentish Town to look for work. He launched an appeal against the ruling, but had no other options while he...

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Closing the disability employment gap

Despite government and other initiatives, efforts to get more disabled people in work are falling short of official targets which increasingly appear difficult to meet   The government has a bold target – to halve the 33 per cent employment gap between disabled and non-disabled workers by 2020. Government estimates suggest this would mean that over one million more disabled people would have to enter the workforce, out of around seven million disabled people of working age, with over three million already in work. The Learning and Work Institute, a think-tank, has estimated that at the current rate it would take 200...

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Disabled workers can’t afford justice to deal with workplace harassment

Since the government introduced fees for employment tribunals, together with legal aid cuts, disabled people have increasingly been unable to have their cases heard… The abuse started for Helen Adams (not her real name), a senior administrator at a major UK charity, after her boss watched her get out her of wheelchair. The 40-year-old has multiple sclerosis and struggles with mobility, but on a “very good day” she says she was able to walk in the office. “I went to lunch and a manager who’d seen me walking earlier yelled at me across the busy room to get out of...

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DISCRIMINATION AT WORK DUE TO A CANCER DIAGNOSIS

Research has shown that most employers aren’t aware that cancer is covered under the Equality Act 2010 as a disability. Your employer should provide help and support to enable you to do your job. The Equality Act 2010 has replaced discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales – including the Disability Discrimination Act – bringing them together under one piece of legislation. These laws protect the rights of workers who suffer from illnesses like cancer. However, research shows only one in five employers is aware of this, so many people go without the support they are entitled to. Almost half...

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LIVING WITH ATAXIA

“My condition means people always assume I’m drunk…” When my best friend Judy turned 40, she organised a group of us to fly to New York. As the plane was ready to take off, three members of security approached me. “Madam, we’d like to escort you off the plane,” the manager said. “We think you’ve had too much to drink.” “Honestly, I haven’t had a drop,” I protested. They apologised and left me – but I wanted the plane to swallow me up. It had been the same situation when I arrived at the boarding gate, feeling tired and a...

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DISABILITY CULTURE

Nothing About Us, Without Us The lived oppression that people with disabilities have experienced and continue to experience is a human rights tragedy of epic proportions. Only in the last few decades has this begun to be recognised and resisted. Today, in fact, we are witnessing a profound sea change among people with disabilities. For the first time, a movement of people with disabilities has emerged in every region of the world which is demanding recognition of their human rights and their central role in determining those rights. “Nothing About Us Without Us“, a landmark book by James I. Charlton,...

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EYE DISABILITY CARE WORKER IN £16K PAYOUT

An auxiliary nurse has been awarded more than £16,000 in compensation after a health trust failed to put in place measures for her to return to work after developing a disability. Angela McCracken took the case against the Northern Health and Social Care Trust after contracting a degenerative eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa. Her central vision was not affected but she has no peripheral vision and experiences temporary difficulties in adjusting to changes in lighting. She notified the trust in August 2011 that she was ready to return to work after maternity leave. An eye specialist had stated Ms McCracken was...

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ADEREMI V LONDON AND SOUTH EASTERN RAILWAY

Disability discrimination – normal day to day activities   This decision is likely to be helpful to claimants seeking to show they have a ‘disability’. The appeal tribunal stresses that one should look at what the claimant cannot do, rather that what they can. It also criticises a ‘sliding scale’ approach, which might set the bar for claimants too high, and says the statutory guidance may mislead here. And it reiterates that the effect of an impairment on work activities can very much be relevant. In Aderemi v London South East Railway the EAT has overturned the decision of the...

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MICHAEL GOVE’S CIVIL SERVICE CUTS ‘TO HIT NON-WHITE, DISABLED AND OLDER WORKERS’

Radical plans by Michael Gove to cut the Department for Education in half will result in a disproportionate number of redundancies among minority ethnic, disabled and older staff, leaked documents show. An internal review of 3,781 departmental staff – which has been handed to the Guardian – shows that one in eight workers define themselves as black or from an ethnic minority. But more than one in three workers described as putting in an unsatisfactory performance are non-white and likely to be sacked. Nearly 15% of staff identified by managers as underperforming have a disability, while only 6% of all...

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EMPLOYEES PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE

In Barlow v Stone (2012 IRLR 898) the Employment Appeal Tribunal had to decide whether an employee could bring a discrimination claim against a colleague even though no claim had been made against the employer. Facts Barlow brought a claim against his employer alleging disability discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), including a failure to make reasonable adjustments. Later a fellow employee (Stone) made a complaint to the police about Barlow, alleging abusive and threatening behaviour – an allegation which turned out to be false. Barlow then presented a second complaint to an employment tribunal, against Stone, alleging discrimination by way of victimisation (in...