Know your rights
It is illegal in the U.K. for an employer to discriminate against candidates or employees based on disability. This is upheld by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and also covers the ‘reasonable adjustments’ employers are expected to make, if necessary, in order to incorporate an employee with a disability. The law applies to all other aspects of employment including dismissal and promotion.
Candidates for a job are not required to disclose any disabilities, but as the DDA safeguards your rights it can often be useful to do so. This lets an employer know of any modifications they should make to your work environment, the costs of which can often be met through the Access to Work scheme. The disclosure of a disability can also be beneficial in highlighting important life skills.
The disability symbol
If employers have committed to demonstrating a consistently positive and inclusive approach towards employing disabled people, they exhibit the disability symbol on application forms and job advertisements. The symbol uses the phrase ‘Positive about disabled people’ and acts as an assurance that the employer will consider and interview disabled candidates fairly, treat them appropriately if employed, and promote disability awareness in their workplace.
Your local Jobcentre will offer advice on searching for a job and also inform you of the benefits or allowances you are eligible to receive. If you would benefit from a meeting with a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) then your Jobcentre consultant can recommend this and set it up for you.
If your disability limits the types of work that you can carry out, there are further programmes set up to assist in finding employment. These include the New Deal for Disabled People, accessible in many areas of England, and Pathways to Work, a Jobcentre scheme automatically available to everybody claiming a variation of Incapacity Benefit.
Numerous groups specialise in advice and training for people with specific disabilities, and your adviser will be able to put you in contact with relevant organisations.