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Employers and Disability - Best Practice

The Equalities Act 2010 made it unlawful to discriminate against anyone with a disability during the recruitment process from how roles are marketed right through to the first day on the job and beyond.

From our experience in liaising with many hundreds of organisations we have gathered the following points together as examples best practice in disability recruitment. If your organisation has any other initiatives please do let us know and we will gladly add them to this page. We do not expect that all organisations of any size will be able to make all of these provisions but do hope that some of them form part of your recruitment:

  • A consistent recruitment contact for disability. A contact for students or Careers Advisers to talk to in confidence about disclosure, the recruitment process, reasonable adjustments etc.
  • Once a disability is disclosed, e.g. by form tick box or by any other means, contact should be made by the recruiter and the applicant given the opportunity to give a full understanding of how they are affected personally. No assumptions should be made, e.g. anyone with dyslexia needs pink paper and an extra ten minutes. Efforts made to understand applicants needs as individuals.
  • Information about what organisations already do for disability. Many organisations already have great webpages, disability networks, mentors etc and are very positive about disability once an employee joins their organisation. However, it can be difficult to know this from the outside as a student researching that organisation. Please tell the Careers Service so that we can make links to this information from vacancies and files to inform students.
  • Organisation Mentors to talk to before applying. A specific contact for disability in the organisation who is friendly, approachable and it's in their job description. Not someone in HR who "does” disability. Ideally this would be someone with a disability working in the company.
  • If your organisation comes to our Careers Events please send representatives who are able to talk about disability. At the least send them with relevant information to hand out and business cards for the disability contact/mentors etc.
  • Build time into the recruitment process for disability. E.g. sometimes the turn around between notification of interview and the interview date is very brief. This is a key time when many would like to disclose having got the interview on the merits of their application. Often disclosure means a number of conversations and reasonable adjustments may take time to put in place.
  • Include disability, the two ticks symbol or similar on job ads.

Employers websites

  • Mention disabilities that they have amongst their staff somewhere on their website.
  • Mention those disabilities they have experience of interviewing e.g. Dyslexia, Aspergers, ADHD, ME etc.
  • Reasonable adjustments that have been put in place before – not an exhaustive list. This shows organisations are open to discussing others too.
  • Be open about why diversity is valued in the organisation
  • Give an indication of numbers of employees with disabilities to encourage others to apply.
  • Case Studies and Role Models - Particularly important - Employers could encourage existing staff with disability to provide case studies posted on their own websites to be linked to from our Careers Service website. Ideally these would be examples of people that disclosed during recruitment rather than once in the job. It is important that these case studies show a range of disabilities and not just physical disability. Wheelchair users are only 5% of the total population with disability.

Useful resources and government guidelines

There are various guidelines to help you navigate this - particularly for small and medium businesses who often don't have experience in this area or HR and Legal in house departments.