Everyone with a disability is covered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
These Acts were passed to make sure you are treated fairly and equally in your place of employment. The Equality Act 2010 includes (but is not limited to) protection in the following areas:
- application forms
- interview arrangements
- aptitude or proficiency tests
- job offers
- terms of employment, including pay
- promotion, transfer and training opportunities
- dismissal or redundancy
- discipline and grievances.
Your employers are required, by law, to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in your place of employment so that you can continue to do your job in a reasonable and safe manner. You and your employer should discuss what is considered ‘reasonable’, which could include the following adjustments:
- Flexible or altered working hours, to help you attend hospital appointments or allow for increased travelling time
(Note: Another law was passed in June 2014 allowing everyone the right to request flexible working hours after 26 weeks of employment.)
- More regular breaks
- Moving your desk to a more accessible area of the office
- A car parking space by your nearest entrance to work
- A workstation assessment – simple things like adjusting screen brightness on computers can help
- The option to work from home.
You do not have to tell your employer about your disability.
Your employer is only allowed to ask you about your condition or disability before offering you the job under very limited circumstances, for example if they need to:
- make ‘reasonable adjustments’ (for example, during the interview)
- make a decision about whether you are able to do something that is an essential part of the job.
Under the DDA, your employer cannot discriminate against you in their recruitment and selection processes. You also have the right to a clear discussion about your needs and any adjustments that might need to be made. If it makes it easier, you can ask your consultant or a regional care advisor to write a letter on your behalf.
The following websites have useful information:
Or you can contact the Employment Law Advice Line on 020 7633 4534.
We also work with two globally renowned legal firms who take on cases for us on a pro bono basis. You can start by discussing your case with us – contact our information and advocacy service.
Access to Work
Access to Work is a government scheme that provides practical advice and support to people with a disability, whether working, self-employed or looking for employment.
This scheme helps provide financial assistance towards equipment or support that you need to be able to carry out your job. It can also provide grants towards other employment-related costs such as travelling to work if you cannot access public transport.
Note: You can only contact Access to Work six weeks before your start date for your job.
You may be eligible for support from Access to Work if you are:
- 16 or over
- about to start a job or work trial
- in a paid job or self-employed.
You may not be eligible if you in voluntary work or are already receiving:
- Incapacity Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Income Support
- National Insurance Credits.
Take a look at our Trailblazers’ Top Tips on Access to Work and Employment.
To learn more about Access to Work or to apply, please visit the government website.
Helping young people access work
The government’s Access to Volunteering scheme is a positive way to encourage young disabled people to get work experience. The scheme provides financial assistance for organisations who recruit disabled volunteers, diversifying the workplace and breaking down barriers to further recruitment.
Muscular Dystrophy UK provides work experience through our young campaigners network, Trailblazers. They provide lots of opportunities to learn new skills, build relationships and add more experience to your CV.
Grants towards the cost of equipment, retraining and counselling are available for some professions and industries. Find out more at Turn2Us.