Victimisation is the delivery of unfair treatment resulting from an employee making a complaint about disability discrimination or helping a colleague to make a complaint of the same.
If an employer, manager or member of staff believe or assume that an employee has made a complaint of disability discrimination or has assisted another member of staff in doing the same, and subsequently treats them unfairly, then this is also considered victimisation.
Discrimination Arising From Disability
Discrimination also covers any actions arising from or connected to a disability but isn’t the disability itself. For example, this could include items such as:
- Not making accommodations for a guide dog
- Disallowing performance bonuses due to an employee’s time off for on-going medical treatment.
If an employer can show objective justification where discrimination arising from a disability negatively affects a role, this is not considered unlawful.
For example, if an employee’s deteriorating eyesight or hearing prevents them from being able to continue to carry out the role they were employed to perform. In situations such as these, the employer should make reasonable attempts to find a suitable alternative role for the employee. If this isn’t possible, as no such role is available, dismissal is considered a reasonable action.
Failure To Carry Out Reasonable Adjustments
In order for disabled workers to be able to carry out their role as easily as non-disabled workers, it is expected that the employer makes reasonable adjustments to the facilities. These areas can include:
- Parking priorities
- Seating arrangements
- Access facilities
The term ‘reasonable’ suggests a suitable provision, criterion or practice system. This is dependent on several factors and should also show consideration of the resources available to the employer.
Making A Disability Discrimination Claim
Any disabled employee who feels that they have suffered discrimination should follow the appropriate channels and complaints procedure as outlined by the business. The first step should be to complain to their manager about the inappropriate behaviour or system. If the matter cannot be resolved to the employee’s satisfaction, the next step would be to make a written complaint to the employer. A written complaint can be used as a record of the event if brought to a tribunal.
You may only raise an employment tribunal against an employer or colleague if you have followed the ACAS Early Conciliation process. Your claim must be made within 30 days of the discrimination or the most recent act of discrimination.
If successful, a tribunal will declare the rights of the claimant. It can be recommended that the employer implements key changes to their processes to avoid further issues and similar cases arising. The tribunal will also award compensation to the victim.
Awards to injury and feelings include hurt feelings, aggravated damages and injury to health. The Court of Appeal offers guidelines for the amounts of compensation—ranging between £800 for less serious cases to over £40,000 for the most serious. Awards can cover loss of earnings, additional losses and money lost from interest charges.