The Student Room Group

Can an employer ever discriminate and reject you because of your disability?

Title
Original post by Anony345533
Can an employer ever discriminate and reject you because of your disability?

Generally, no. That would be an offence under the Equality Act 2010.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if your potential employer was one of the armed forces they could reject you on the basis of a disability.
Original post by DataVenia
Generally, no. That would be an offence under the Equality Act 2010.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if your potential employer was one of the armed forces they could reject you on the basis of a disability.

So was it fair for the training provider to reject me for a role that I applied for with the same training provider and different employer because I rejected a job as I said it is too far (second site being at City Road) and they assumed that the original site was too far (Aldgate) and for my second application with the same training provider and different employer the employer would be based at Aldgate so similar commute and they thought that because I said it is too far before (they misunderstood me, I declined because they kept switching between locations and the employer told me at the last minute about the last minute change) that Aldgate is too far so I was rejected. I thought they rejected me because I rejected the other one last minute meaning I am unreliable and it didn't give me a good impression.

I also applied for another one with a different training provider and different employer and this time part of the job description says I need to travel to the other side of London at times to drop some paper off and I won't be able to do that for the life of me and they said they will let me know if they can make that allowance and I also need to take a phone call from job centre on the day I start the apprenticeship (they are urgently looking for someone and even made me do a last minute interview, yesterday they phoned me saying I got it and they asked if I can come in today and I said I have to let them know and they said then Friday latest as they really need someone), location is not great on this one I admit but it's close. I need to check it out and the money is not great compared to the last one either but I'll live.
The reality is that even with evidence in writing of disability discrimination in job recruitment the law isn’t enforced.
If you privately take a company to court for disability discrimination and win then all that’s likely to happen is that you get an apology and some compensation. The company won’t be obliged to employ you or change their ways.
Also, its very hard to prove and unless you has some actually proof, they'll just claim you weren't the best candidate.
Original post by Anony345533
So was it fair for the training provider to reject me for a role that I applied for with the same training provider and different employer because I rejected a job as I said it is too far (second site being at City Road) and they assumed that the original site was too far (Aldgate) and for my second application with the same training provider and different employer the employer would be based at Aldgate so similar commute and they thought that because I said it is too far before (they misunderstood me, I declined because they kept switching between locations and the employer told me at the last minute about the last minute change) that Aldgate is too far so I was rejected. I thought they rejected me because I rejected the other one last minute meaning I am unreliable and it didn't give me a good impression.

I also applied for another one with a different training provider and different employer and this time part of the job description says I need to travel to the other side of London at times to drop some paper off and I won't be able to do that for the life of me and they said they will let me know if they can make that allowance and I also need to take a phone call from job centre on the day I start the apprenticeship (they are urgently looking for someone and even made me do a last minute interview, yesterday they phoned me saying I got it and they asked if I can come in today and I said I have to let them know and they said then Friday latest as they really need someone), location is not great on this one I admit but it's close. I need to check it out and the money is not great compared to the last one either but I'll live.

Well, none of what you've described sounds like it would have been an offence under the Equality Act 2020, as you've made no mention of a disability, nor given any indication that any decision they made was the due to any such disability.

It's very difficult to follow what you've written, and to keep track of which role is which. However, you've written that "they thought that because I said it is too far before ... that Aldgate is too far so I was rejected". So from their prespective, you rejected a role based at Aldgate at the last minute (due to the distance, so they thought), and then applied for another role at Aldgate. That's why they rejected you - because they know (from experience) that you don't accept roles in Aldgate. I realise that you'd be happy with a role in Aldgate, but the first role was switched to City Road and that's why you rejected it - but they haven't understood that. Misunderstanding your motives does not constitute discrimination or an offence.

Your second paragraph is about a different employer and a different training provider - so that history of misunderstanding doesn't apply here. For this one, you've told them that you don't be able to "travel to the other side of London at times to drop some paper off" and they've said "they will let me know if they can make that allowance". That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. What is the status this role? I see no mention of a rejection or an accusation of discrimination.
In general, no. There will be things the person with a disability will be unable to do, one such example is in the lab I worked in, a wheelchair user would not be able to use a couple of the machines we use for safety reasons as they are simply too high. They could take the job but be prevented in using the machines for the safety of the individual as well as co-workers.

A while back, we had a worker who had developed a kind of pneumonia and where it is policy that everyone in the labs wear masks, she was unable to do her job on medical grounds and so was pulled out of the lab for her own safety but allowed to continue working under the same job title but for admin purposes and not scientific ones (basically kept track of all of the equipment in the lab).

However, if your job title states you will be expected to lift heavy machinery and you are unable to for whatever reason, you could be turned down on H&S grounds.
Original post by Scienceisgood
In general, no. There will be things the person with a disability will be unable to do, one such example is in the lab I worked in, a wheelchair user would not be able to use a couple of the machines we use for safety reasons as they are simply too high. They could take the job but be prevented in using the machines for the safety of the individual as well as co-workers.

A while back, we had a worker who had developed a kind of pneumonia and where it is policy that everyone in the labs wear masks, she was unable to do her job on medical grounds and so was pulled out of the lab for her own safety but allowed to continue working under the same job title but for admin purposes and not scientific ones (basically kept track of all of the equipment in the lab).

However, if your job title states you will be expected to lift heavy machinery and you are unable to for whatever reason, you could be turned down on H&S grounds.

Many wheelchair users can stand or walk. Others can use perching stools or standing wheelchairs to reach things at height.

What you have described here about wheelchair users being unable to operate lab equipment at height is discrimination and is based on making blanket assumptions about wheelchair users.

Employers are (albeit unenforceably) required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and Access to Work will fund equipment (like riser wheelchairs) to make that happen. Or (and here’s a wild idea) they could lower the equipment (or raise the floor) so it can be operated by all staff while seated.
Absolutely they can, they would usually just not admit that that's the reason they hired someone else. They'll just say another candidate had a better skillset or whatever.
Original post by PQ
Many wheelchair users can stand or walk. Others can use perching stools or standing wheelchairs to reach things at height.

What you have described here about wheelchair users being unable to operate lab equipment at height is discrimination and is based on making blanket assumptions about wheelchair users.

Employers are (albeit unenforceably) required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and Access to Work will fund equipment (like riser wheelchairs) to make that happen. Or (and here’s a wild idea) they could lower the equipment (or raise the floor) so it can be operated by all staff while seated.


If you’re carrying patient samples and are physically less than completely capable of carrying around 200 blood samples at a time, it would put not only yourself at risk but the patient’s who’s samples you are also carrying.

It’s like when I hurt my back a few months ago, I was asked to not come in because of my safety as well as putting the patient’s safety at risk too.

I wouldn’t say it’s discrimination but safety more than anything.
Original post by Scienceisgood
If you’re carrying patient samples and are physically less than completely capable of carrying around 200 blood samples at a time, it would put not only yourself at risk but the patient’s who’s samples you are also carrying.

It’s like when I hurt my back a few months ago, I was asked to not come in because of my safety as well as putting the patient’s safety at risk too.

I wouldn’t say it’s discrimination but safety more than anything.

There's these things called....trolleys that can carry samples if you're not physically capable of walking and carrying samples.

Like I say - you're making assumptions and displaying bias. Why wouldn't a wheelchair user be able to carry some samples?
Original post by Scienceisgood
However, if your job title states you will be expected to lift heavy machinery and you are unable to for whatever reason, you could be turned down on H&S grounds.


Bingo

My jobs require riding in a van, climbing and operating heavy power tools, so obv a large range of disabilities would simply not be workable or safe. I can be expected to make all reasonable effort to make the tasks accessible or offer lighter duties if they exist but some things simply can't be done safely. Like I'm not asking someone in a wheel chair or a condition like narcolepsy to climb a tree with a chainsaw....
Original post by StriderHort
Bingo

My jobs require riding in a van, climbing and operating heavy power tools, so obv a large range of disabilities would simply not be workable or safe. I can be expected to make all reasonable effort to make the tasks accessible or offer lighter duties if they exist but some things simply can't be done safely. Like I'm not asking someone in a wheel chair or a condition like narcolepsy to climb a tree with a chainsaw....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wYF6SC9bUk

*some* disabled people wouldn't be able to do the job, just like some non-disabled people wouldn't be able to either

Assuming what someone is or isn't capable of based on your assumptions of their abilities is discrimination.
(edited 1 year ago)


I think I've seen that before and fair play to the guys grit and ability, but I do feel it's relevant he is an extremely accomplished multidiscipline athlete, although I do get what you are saying that a wheelchair isn't a black & white thing and possibly a bad example to throw about. But I do stand by my point in general, esp as it relates to my own gardening business that there are going to be some things I need to turn people down for as I can't accommodate their situation. Tbh even the example of the climbing athlete, I still wonder how I would go about insuring someone to climb like that with tools :dontknow: esp as I often work in residential properties with mostly 0 obligation to be specifically accessible in anyway.
Original post by PQ
There's these things called....trolleys that can carry samples if you're not physically capable of walking and carrying samples.

Like I say - you're making assumptions and displaying bias. Why wouldn't a wheelchair user be able to carry some samples?


Have you actually seen an NHS lab and how remarkable tiny they are when factoring into account all the machinery placed in them?
Original post by DataVenia
Well, none of what you've described sounds like it would have been an offence under the Equality Act 2020, as you've made no mention of a disability, nor given any indication that any decision they made was the due to any such disability.

It's very difficult to follow what you've written, and to keep track of which role is which. However, you've written that "they thought that because I said it is too far before ... that Aldgate is too far so I was rejected". So from their prespective, you rejected a role based at Aldgate at the last minute (due to the distance, so they thought), and then applied for another role at Aldgate. That's why they rejected you - because they know (from experience) that you don't accept roles in Aldgate. I realise that you'd be happy with a role in Aldgate, but the first role was switched to City Road and that's why you rejected it - but they haven't understood that. Misunderstanding your motives does not constitute discrimination or an offence.

Your second paragraph is about a different employer and a different training provider - so that history of misunderstanding doesn't apply here. For this one, you've told them that you don't be able to "travel to the other side of London at times to drop some paper off" and they've said "they will let me know if they can make that allowance". That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. What is the status this role? I see no mention of a rejection or an accusation of discrimination.

Regarding the job I was talking about on the second paragraph, they rejected me. They told me today. See this is why even after getting an offer you shouldn't put your hopes up.
Original post by Anony345533
Regarding the job I was talking about on the second paragraph, they rejected me. They told me today. See this is why even after getting an offer you shouldn't put your hopes up.

I'm sorry to hear that. :frown:
Original post by Scienceisgood
Have you actually seen an NHS lab and how remarkable tiny they are when factoring into account all the machinery placed in them?


Lack of space isn’t an accepted excuse for discrimination in the law.
NHS employers are covered by the Public Equalities Duty which means they should be pre-empting reasonable adjustments and putting them in place regardless of whether any employees are disabled. obviously what should happen and what does happen are 2 different things but that doesn’t mean dismissing an applicant for a job based on an assumption about what they can’t do.

do you like working in a cramped space? Would all employees working in that space benefit from increased room and the ability to operate equipment safely while seated? Would removing the requirement to carry samples improve safety and reduce the risk of samples being dropped?
Original post by StriderHort
I think I've seen that before and fair play to the guys grit and ability, but I do feel it's relevant he is an extremely accomplished multidiscipline athlete, although I do get what you are saying that a wheelchair isn't a black & white thing and possibly a bad example to throw about. But I do stand by my point in general, esp as it relates to my own gardening business that there are going to be some things I need to turn people down for as I can't accommodate their situation. Tbh even the example of the climbing athlete, I still wonder how I would go about insuring someone to climb like that with tools :dontknow: esp as I often work in residential properties with mostly 0 obligation to be specifically accessible in anyway.


Absolutely. It’s about not making assumptions.

I’m non-disabled and would be completely unsuitable for that sort of work because I get scared up 3 steps of a ladder!

Something like 70% of wheelchair users are ambulatory (ie able to walk a few or more steps)
(edited 1 year ago)

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