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Disability As a Barrier to Work

  • Published: 2009-01-09 (Rev. 2010-05-23) - Contact: Sylvia Kittens
  • Synopsis: When somebody has a disability, they are often considered to be less able to work than the average person.

Main Document

When somebody has a disability, they are often considered to be less able to work than the average person...

Employers look at a disabled person and they are reluctant to hire them because they feel that they will not do the best job possible. Not only is it illegal not to hire somebody because of a disability, but it is also a false opinion that a disabled person cannot work. No matter what the disability, usually there is at least one job suited to the person.

Looking Past Disability

Disability could mean that a person suffers from a wide range of problems. They can be either physically disabled or mentally disabled. Even depression is considered to be a disability. For this reason, it is impossible to rule out all disabled people when it comes to the world of work. Unless somebody has a very severe learning difficulty, there will be a job that they can do. Not only that, but they will be able to do certain jobs just as well, or even better as the average person.

As an employer, you have to ensure that your business is fully accessible for a disabled person. So your doorways should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs if necessary. You should also have disabled toilets and you should aim to rearrange the structure of your office to make it easier for the disabled to work there. However, whilst some changes do usually need to be made, it is simply a myth that you will dramatically have to change your workplace. Most disabled people get on really well without much support.

If you are disabled and you are worried about getting into the world of work then there are various schemes that may be able to help. You could get coaching in interviews and in how to handle the workplace. In many cases, it could actually do you the world of good getting out to work. It will give you a sense of independence and prove that you are not any less able to do a job than anybody else.

The way in which the world sees disabled people is changing, but there is still a long way to go. It is a misconception that a disabled person will need a lot more help than the average person in the workplace. Of course, each individual is different and some people will need more help than others. However, you should never let disability put you off hiring a person or from yourself applying for various job positions.

Overall, it is illegal for any employer to not hire a person based on disability. So it should never be seen as a barrier to work.

Reference: Sylvia Kittens lives in Harrogate, England and currently sources


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