Employers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate workers with disabilities, under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Equal opportunity laws state you have to avoid discrimination during recruitment and in the workplace so that workers with a disability do not get less favourable treatment than other employees.
During interviews, always be careful when asking candidates about their health. If an illness or disability has been disclosed during the interview and the candidate is unsuccessful, they may claim they were discriminated against because of their illness or 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.