Equality, diversity & inclusion
The University encourages the development of an environment in which diversity is valued. An important part of putting this into practice is a commitment to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of disability in all employment matters, to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability and to ensure that its recruitment and selection processes are fully accessible.
The ideal of accessibility underpins this Policy and includes not only access to the built environment, but also to information and services. Furthermore, it means independent access, or, at least, access with minimal assistance. An important step towards becoming more welcoming to people with disabilities is understanding that services, methods of working and the built environment may themselves be enabling or disabling.
All University staff, students, visitors and contractors are expected to treat people with disabilities with respect. If, however, an individual feels they have been discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of disability, they are encouraged to report the incident. Line managers, as part of their managerial responsibilities, must ensure there is no discrimination based on disability. Discrimination in recruitment, selection or employment is treated seriously by the University and could provide grounds for disciplinary action. Furthermore, individuals who discriminate on the grounds of disability may be liable under the Equality Act 2010.
This policy has two broad aims. First, it aims to increase understanding and awareness on the employment of people with disabilities. Second, it outlines the legal framework for employing people with disabilities.
The University recognises the strengths of a workforce made up of people from diverse backgrounds. It is keen to ensure that, wherever possible, posts are accessible to people with disabilities. This is in keeping with the Equality Act 2010, but other factors are also taken into account. The University displays the Employment Service’s Disability Confident Employer symbol on recruitment information and elsewhere. This means that the University has agreed to implement steps actively encouraging the employment of disabled people. These include interviewing all applicants with a disability for a job vacancy who meet the essential elements of the person specification, ensuring that employees who become disabled are given every chance to remain in employment and developing general awareness of disability issues.
Loughborough University is keen that staff who have an on-going disability make the University aware of this, in order that appropriate help and support can be provided.
If you do have a disability that may have implications for your work, you are advised to discuss it with your manager in the first instance, in order to explore any reasonable adjustments that could be made in order to assist you, or with Occupational Health in the second instance.
The Equality Act 2010 states "that a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Physical or mental impairment includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing."
Again the Equality Act 2010 states "An impairment which consists of a severe disfigurement is treated as having a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities"
In addition to those already mentioned, it also covers mental impairments, including learning disabilities and mental illnesses, when the illness is recognised by the medical profession.
The Act covers a number of impairments which are seldom thought of as disabling, such as heart disease, diabetes and dyslexia.
Where an impairment is controlled, for example by medication, the person is still considered disabled for the purposes of the Act. It is important to remember that although some disabilities are apparent, many widely occurring disabilities, such as mental ill-health, epilepsy, diabetes and dyslexia are often not immediately evident.
"Long-term means that the impairment has lasted, or is likely to last for at least 12 months or for the rest of the affected person's life."
"Substantial means more than minor or trivial."
Measures which help to prevent either deliberate or unintentional discrimination against candidates with disabilities involve job specification, advertising, application forms, interviewing and Access to Work. Access to Work scheme provides practical support in the form of special aids and equipment, assistance with adaptations, help with fares to work and any costs of a support worker. This is operated by the Job Centre’s Disability Employment Adviser. For further details and advice about recruitment and selection, please refer to the Guidelines for Managers.
All new staff have induction training within their local areas of work and also receive a more general introduction to the University. Heads of Department or line managers are responsible for considering any additional induction needs which may be necessary for new employees with disabilities. This may mean providing additional induction training or training on particular software or other equipment. (Please refer to Guidelines for Managers).
Retaining existing staff is often more effective than recruiting new staff and the University is keen to retain employees who become disabled during the course of their employment. An assessment to consider the best course of action will be made involving discussion between the individual, the Head of Department or line manager and Human Resources (through an Occupational Health assessment). The options available include:
- Job restructuring to allow the person to continue in their present post with adjustment to the duties or working hours, for example, to allow rehabilitation; or
- Retraining and redeployment to another post within the University; or
- Consideration of early retirement or resignation on the grounds of ill-health; or
- If there is no possibility of the three options above being put into practice and the employee cannot realistically continue in employment, then a decision to terminate employment may be made following medical advice. However, this would be seen as a last resort and the usual rights of appeal apply.
A final decision will be made only after full discussion with the individual concerned.
Two key concepts in the Equality Act is that of ‘reasonable adjustment' and 'favourable treatment' along with a legal duty to consider reasonable adjustments in advance, therefore the University expects people with a disability to be treated with dignity and respect by all staff, students, visitors and contractors. Any form of harassment or discrimination based on disability is unacceptable to the University under the terms of its Bullying and Harassment Code of Practice and is also unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
There are a number of people available to help, advise and support staff who feel that they are being discriminated against because of a disability. As well as the Staff Development Adviser (Equality & Diversity), the University also has a Confide Adviser and a trained Confide Panel (contact details are given at the end). The Panel consists of academic and non-academic staff from across the University who are available to discuss matters in confidence. For further information please refer to the Bullying and Harassment Code of Practice.
Complaints about disability discrimination relating to employment will be monitored on an annual basis by Human Resources and this will be reported to the Human Resources Committee.
Statistical information about the treatment of staff with disabilities throughout the employment structures will be reported on annually to the Human Resources Committee through the Annual Equality & Diversity Statistical Report in order to meet the legal duty to publish information from the Equality Act 2010. This information will be collected in confidence and only anonymous statistical information will be published. Equality and Diversity initiatives relating to disability will also be monitored and reported on. See annual reports on the equality and diversity webpages.
Facilities Management (formally Estates Services) will produce an annual report for the Human Resources Committee on the accessibility adjustments and investments made over the previous year. This allows the Committee to consider ongoing developments and future plans.
This statement will be reviewed on a three yearly basis in line with other Human Resource policies.
The co-operation of all University staff, students, contractors and visitors is essential to ensure the success of this policy. All individuals will be held personally accountable for their actions and behaviour in cases of complaints of discrimination based on disability. Managers and supervisors have a particular responsibility for eliminating discrimination based on disability.
The University is committed to acting positively to prevent discrimination on the grounds of disability and has a programme of staff training to heighten awareness of disability issues.