Leading a life with a disability presents many challenges, and unfortunately, one of them may be knowing how to handle workplace discrimination. Whether intentional or accidental, this kind of situation can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or even threatening to you. Here is a step-by-step guide to handling disabilities discrimination in the workplace.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against at work, the first thing you should do is meet the situation head-on by having a talk with your employer. You can use this opportunity to mention the situations that lead you to feel as if you were being singled out or withheld certain rights. It is possible that your employer may not have noticed how a particular situation made you feel, and, if so, this conversation will give him or her the opportunity to rectify it. You should also be clear about what you would like to see as an outcome of your conversation so that the problem can be resolved as quickly as possible.
In the instance that this initial conversation does not improve your situation (or if you find that your employer is not receptive to what you have to say), you should inquire about a formal complaints process for your company. This will help you to put your grievances in writing so that they are documented.
After submitting your formal grievance, if the situation still does not change, you then have two options for recourse. You can reach out to Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). You may also wish to contact the Employment Tribunals to ask for help in resolving the dispute with your employer. If you choose this course of action, you will have to take it within several months of being discriminated against.
However, before contacting an outside government agency for help, it will be useful to obtain some basic information from your employer regarding the incident or incidents in question. This will grant you some perspective as to why your employer acted in a certain way, and it may even eliminate the need for you to make a case against your employer for disability discrimination. To make this easier for you, the Government Equalities Office provides separate forms for both you and your employer to fill out about the same incident. This will bring to light any contrasts in your understanding of the incident versus how your employer perceived it. The forms are not mandatory, but in the process of presenting your case to the Employment Tribunals, they can help in the mediation process.
An employment tribunal can help put an end to your workplace dispute either by requesting that your employer make an effort to eliminate the circumstances in which you were discriminated against or by issuing compensation.
Facing discrimination is never easy. However, if you are able to consider all sides of the story and act accordingly, you’ll stand a better chance of resolving the situation amicably and permanently.
You could respond by hiring legal counsel, such as Irwin Mitchell , which is a sure-fire way to navigate your case with ease and certainty. However, you should follow the above mentioned steps beforehand so that you can be sure that you have exhausted all other options before going to court.
For more information about disability discrimination at work, visit www.direct.gov.uk.