Almost 20% of Australians and nearly 13 million individuals in the UK have a disability. Individuals with disabilities have the ability to perform the same work that many others do and should be given equal opportunity to perform well. Managers must identify ways to accommodate disabilities without jeopardising the effectiveness of work in the organisation. Before identifying these, businesses should understand the legal aspects of disabilities in the workplace.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, a disability covers the following aspects:
- physical disfigurement
Aspects covered under the act should be identified and discussed by managers to prevent individuals from facing significant barriers to performing tasks. The law promotes equal opportunity and access to individuals with disabilities.
Employers can utilise multiple different programs to achieve equal opportunity, such as technology and funded government programs.
Disability Employment Services
The Disability Employment Services is a national network of organisations to assist employers recruit individuals with disabilities. The service further assists with disability, injury and health conditions in many workplaces across Australia.
Giving access to training and development helps bring awareness to the need for accommodation and customisation. The service also works with employers to accomplish the following:
- Enhance sustainable employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities
- Achieve labour needs, such as sustaining quality outcomes for individualities with disabilities
- Continually meet and adapt to needs of individuals with disabilities
Job Services Australia
Job Services Australia provides assistance to employers in order to assess staffing requirements and find work-ready employees. Job Services Australia can also help identify relevant apprenticeships and traineeships. This service coordinates with businesses to achieve:
- high quality recruitment services
- job seeker referrals
- relevant skills training
For organisations looking to make work-related modifications, there are many assistance programs that can help offset costs. Programs include the Employment Assistance Fund and a Wage Subsidy Scheme.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 in the UK, establishes protection against employers for discrimination under the following areas:
- application process
- interview arrangements
- job offers
- terms of employment
- promotion and training development
- dismissal or redundancy
- discipline or grievances
The act regulates these areas and offers assistance to individuals throughout their professional careers.
As employers accommodate their workplaces, managers can utilise the following as a guide.
Understand your workers’ needs
All employees deserve equal opportunity in their professional development. Managers should offer an open policy to discuss any mental or physical disability so that accommodations can be made. Organisations are likely to have individuals with disabilities and managers must help all employees work productively.
Tailor jobs for success
Similar to different learning styles, all individuals work differently and at different paces. Tailoring work tasks to each individual will improve productivity and help build a healthier work environment. Consider what tasks can be altered to accommodate different skillsets and capabilities. Improve efficiency throughout the organisation through flexible scheduling.
Turn to technology
PowerHouse LMS offers customised content to help accommodate any disability that may hinder training. Adding audio on each page (including assessment), using colour-blind-friendly colours add adding additional features for the vision impaired are just a few ways PowerHouse helps accommodate disabilities.
Further technology in the workplace can assist employees, such as braille, or raised desks for wheelchairs.
- Australian Human Rights Commission. (2017). D.D.A. guide: Who does the D.D.A. protect? Retrieved from http://www.humanrights.gov.au/dda-guide-who-does-dda-protect
- DDS (2017). An Employer's Guide to Employing Someone With Disability. DDS. Retrieved from https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/09_2014/employers_guide_to_employing_someone_with_disability_0.pdf
- Landrum, S. (2017). How to Accommodate Employees With Disabilities During Training. Training Industry. Retrieved from https://trainingindustry.com/articles/content-development/how-to-accommodate-employees-with-disabilities-during-training/
- UK Government. (2017). Disability Rights. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/rights-disabled-person/employment