Imagine a disabled person, Jenny, applies for a job as a marketing executive in your business. Jenny has responded to an advertisement which you posted, recently.
Jenny is paralysed from the waist down after being involved in a road traffic accident a few years ago.
You shortlist Jenny and a few other applicants, who have a similar level of marketing experience.
All the applicants who you interview demonstrate sufficient experience and knowledge for the job. However, Jenny shows extra drive and motivation.
You discuss with Jenny any adjustments that could be required. Jenny states that an adjustment will probably be needed in terms of her workstation and that a wheelchair workstation could offer a solution.
You consider who you will offer the job to.
Another candidate gets the job
You decide that although Jenny is a strong candidate it will be a be a hassle arranging a different workstation. You’re also worried that there may be further issues down the line from Jenny relating to her disability. You therefore offer the job to another candidate.
If you reject Jenny she could bring a disability discrimination claim. She could allege that you treated her less favourably than others because of her disability, that you treated her unfavourably because of something arising as a result of disability and that you failed to comply with your duty to make reasonable adjustments as Jenny was put at a substantial disadvantage.
Jenny could claim injury to feelings and loss of earnings.
The legal costs and management time in defending the claim will be considerable too.
Jenny gets the job
Supposing, however, you decide to offer Jenny the job, and you make adjustments to the work station?
This is what could happen.
Two years later you promote Jenny to the role of senior marketing executive. Jenny’s drive has had a big impact on her colleagues and the productivity of the team has risen significantly.
What decision would you have made?
If you need advice on rights for a disabled person in the workplace or have queries on other employment law issues please do not hesitate to contact me on 0203 7971264.