Our Employment Law team have launched a new campaign to stamp out disability discrimination in the workplace. Disability Matters – Working Towards a Level Playing Field coincides with Mental Health Awareness week, which takes place between 10 – 16 May 2021.
Our employment law team have found that the pandemic and numerous lockdowns have resulted in a notable increase in people seeking employment law advice about disability discrimination at work. This increase has been widespread among workers struggling with mental health disabilities such as depression and anxiety.
The September 2020 update from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the employment rate among disabled people was only 53%, compared to 81% for the general population. However, where people had mental health issues, this figure decreased to 33%, and reduced to just 21% for people with Autism.
Fiona Martin, Director and Head of Employment Law, says: “Enquiries about disability discrimination in the workplace have increased during the pandemic. Employers fail to understand who might be considered “disabled” as defined by the Equality Act and their ongoing duty to consider making reasonable adjustments. This is particularly the case where mental health impairments are concerned. This has been exacerbated by some employers attempting to rush employees back to their workplaces, despite government advice that where you can work from home, you should continue to do so.”
We have produced a series of free factsheets, case studies and FAQs for employers and employees covering basic disability rights, as well as avoiding disability discrimination in redundancy processes and restructures.
For HR, managers and business owners, we will be running a free virtual seminar on ‘Managing Ill Health and Disability – Best Practice for Employers’ on Thursday 20 May, from 1pm – 2pm which you can book here.
We are also offering employers and employees free confidential advice regarding disability rights and employer duties.