1. Policy

  1. The University is committed to developing, maintaining and supporting a culture of equality and diversity in employment in which members of staff and applicants are treated equitably regardless of any disability as defined in the Equality Act 2010.
  2. The Equality Act 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 (as amended) and sections of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001, providing extended legal protection for disabled people in various areas, including employment. It states that:
  3. 'A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.'

    Equality Act 2010, section 6

    "Substantial" is defined by the Act as 'more than minor or trivial'.

    An impairment is considered to have a long-term effect if:

    • it has lasted for at least 12 months
    • it is likely to last for at least 12 months, or
    • it is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person

    People who have had a disability in the past are also protected against discrimination, harassment and victimisation. This may be particularly relevant for people with fluctuating and/or recurring impairments/health conditions.

    A number of conditions may be considered to be a disability as outlined below.

    • 1. An individual is treated as disabled without having to show their condition has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities in the following situations:
      • Where the individual has cancer, HIV infection or multiple sclerosis they are considered to have a disability from the point of diagnosis
      • Where a consultant ophthalmologist has certified someone as blind, severely sight-impaired or partially sighted, the Act regards them as disabled
    • 2. Where an individual has a “progressive condition”, initially the effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities may not be sufficiently serious to amount to a substantial adverse effect. However, they are treated as disabled if their condition is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on their day-to-day activities in the future. This means that an individual with a progressive condition may quality for protection as a disabled person before the adverse effects of their condition become serious. Progressive conditions increase in severity over time and, for example include dementia, muscular dystrophy and motor neurone disease.
    • 3. Impairments can include: sensory impairments, such as those affecting sight or hearing; conditions which can range from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), diabetes and arthritis to depression, schizophrenia, phobias, personality disorders, autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities and injury to the brain; those affecting body organs such as asthma and heart disease; musculoskeletal conditions - injury, damage and disorders which affect bones, muscles, joints ligaments, tendons and nerves; and conditions/effects produced by injury to the body.

    Full definitions of a disability are set out in Appendix 1 of the Equality and Human Rights commission statutory code of practice and HM Government document Equality Act 2010 Guidance.

    Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their practices and premises to accommodate disabled people, where any arrangements or physical features of premises cause a substantial disadvantage. Examples of reasonable adjustment may include:

    • Giving or arranging training
    • Providing more flexible working hours or arrangements
    • Assigning the person to a different workplace
    • Acquiring or modifying equipment
    • Making adjustments to premises
    • Adjustment to work or working practices (where reasonably practicable)

    The Act also introduced a new public sector equality duty (PSED), which replaces the general duties in the disability equality duty. The PSED requires HEIs to show due regard to the need to:

    • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act
    • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it
    • foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

    Time off for treatment, specialist reviews and disability related sickness absence will be taken into consideration in the application of the University's managing ill health and sickness absence procedure.

2. Aims

  1. The University aims to recruit and retain talent, skills and experience and ensure disabled staff - as far as reasonably practicable - can fulfil their employment potential.
  2. To provide so far as is reasonably practicable, equity in access to the full range of recruitment, career development, promotion, training and other employment opportunities for all staff.
  3. To ensure that there is no unfair discrimination on grounds of disability and that access to employment and promotion in the University is based on merit.

3. Roles and responsibilities

  1. The Vice-Chancellor has overall responsibility for equality and diversity in the University and all members of staff are responsible for promoting equality, valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive culture.
  2. Various groups and individuals have responsibility for the formulation of policies, procedures and action programmes relating to equality and diversity for members of staff. These primarily include line managers with professional advice from their HR Adviser, Occupational Health, the Equality and Diversity Office and Disability Services with input from the Unions. For full details see Appendix A of the Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy for specific responsibilities.