If you want to employ a disabled person at work, you have a positive obligation under the Fair Work Act to make reasonable adjustments so they can do their job. Equal opportunity laws state you have to avoid discrimination during recruitment and in the workplace so they do not get less favourable treatment than other employees.
During interviews, always be careful when asking candidates about their health. If you ask and then do not offer them the job, they could claim they did not get the job because they gave you information about their disability.
You may need to make reasonable adjustments so the disabled employee is not at a disadvantage at work. For example, a specialised mouse for someone who struggles with dexterity, or later start and finish times to avoid the crush of travelling in rush hour. You cannot be expected to make reasonable adjustments if someone is not visibly disabled and they have not told you about their disability.
Be aware that if an employee’s performance drops off, this could be because of a disability. In this case, look at providing reasonable adjustments. If you take disciplinary action without investigating fully – and the decline is because of disability – it could be seen as less favourable treatment.
Employsure advises on making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.