The Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in 1995 to give those with a disability (as defined in the legislation) protection against less favourable treatment.Employers also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments where the physical features of the employer’s premises or the policies or practices that the employer applies places disabled people at a substantial disadvantage.
A disability is defined as a “physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on his ability to carry out day to day activities” (Section 1 of the Disability Discrimination Act).Since December 2005, certain conditions such as HIV, Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer are automatically included as a disability from the point of diagnosis.
Disability discrimination can arise within recruitment, during employment and dismissal.An employee’s remedy will be in the Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland.
The law on disability discrimination in Northern Ireland is not the same as in England and Wales and therefore it is essential that businesses take advice on disability discrimination issues from local professional advisors.
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