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Employment Advice, Rights &

Responsibilities

Dan McIntyre

Registered Charity Number 1111826


National Headquarters
Ashwellthorpe, Norwich
NR16 1EX
Contents

Applying for a job – when (and if) to disclose your


disability
CV tips
Interview tips
Reasonable adjustments
Discrimination
About Dan McIntyre
Applying for a job – As people with disabilities there are certain issues to consider
when applying for a job. One of the most worrying for some
when (and if) to people is when to disclose that they have a disability to a
potential employer and in some cases even whether they
disclose your should disclose their disability.
disability In some cases the decisions on whether and when to disclose
are already made for you. In particular the wording of an
application form can be important. For example, if the
application form asks if you “have a disability as defined by
the Disability Discrimination Act” then you must answer
honestly if your disability is defined in the Disability
Discrimination Act. An employer can take disciplinary action
against an employee who has made a false declaration if it
later comes to light. In addition if you answer “No” to this
question you do not have any protection under the terms of
the Disability Discrimination Act and you also forfeit the right
to ask for Reasonable Adjustments.

If however the application form asks if you “consider yourself


to have a disability” or something similar then you have a
choice to make over whether to disclose or not.

When making this decision there are several things to


consider:

1 – As mentioned above, you may forfeit your rights to ask for


Reasonable Adjustments, which could make your job more
difficult than it needs to be.

2 – If you do not consider that your disability will impact on


your ability to perform the job then you could quite
legitimately answer “No” to this question.

3 – If you state that you do not consider yourself to have a


disability the potential employer may not know or think to
make allowances for any needs at interview stage.

This list is by no means exhaustive and your personal


circumstances may give you different considerations.
Your CV is the document you use to sell yourself to a potential
employer. It is worth keeping this in mind when writing your
CV tips CV.

With regard to people with disabilities the choice is yours


whether or not to include details of your disability on your CV.

If you do decide to include details they are best kept brief and
left to the last page of your CV. This gives the employer the
chance to be impressed by your qualifications, work history
and/or experience first. As much as we wish it weren’t so it is
a fact that many employers view candidates with disabilities
as a risk in terms of employment.

As a general rule your CV is best kept to less than 4 pages of


A4. The employer does not need to know your life history,
they will initially be more interested in what you can offer
them at work.

So, what details DO need to be included in your CV? The


basics are:

1 – Your name. Both your full name and, if appropriate, any


name you prefer to be known by, usually in brackets. For
example my full name is Daniel Anderson-McIntyre but I
prefer to be addressed as Dan. On the top of my CV I have
this written as Daniel Anderson-McIntyre (Dan).

2 – Your address. This is so the employer knows where to


contact you.

3 – Your telephone number. For the same reason as above. If


you have a mobile number and feel comfortable doing so it
might be best to use this. This enables the employer to
contact you even if you’re out and about. How would you feel
if you found you had missed out on an interview or job offer
because the employer called your home and you weren’t in?

4 – Your employment history (if you have one). Not just a list
of where you have worked and when but include details of
your responsibilities, any achievements and any
commendations.

5 – Your education and qualification details. For younger


people this might only mean GCSE or NVQ details whereas for
people in their late 20’s and 30’s there may be degrees or
other qualifications to include. Generally speaking once you
are into your 30’s an employer will not be too interested in
your GCSE results.

Whether you include your date of birth is entirely up to you. If


you prefer to it might be a good idea to leave this to the last
page in order to avoid drawing attention to your age.

Some people like to include their email address in addition to


their phone number and I am one of them. It is another way
for the employer to contact you.

Another item that is down to personal choice is a photo.


Some people include them, some don’t. Personally I am of the
opinion that there is no need for a photo on a CV, I prefer to
let the words speak for themselves but you make the decision
for yourself.

A personal profile can be a useful addition as it allows you to


add some freehand text to sum up your skills and knowledge.
This should generally be no more than 3 or 4 lines and it’s
worth keeping in mind that some employers see these profiles
as “fluff” – there just to pad out the CV. If you are in any
doubt leave it out.

Some people like to include their marital status but again


there is no need for this.

Your CV should be typed neatly on plain White paper of the


best quality you can afford. Coloured papers and text may
attract attention but this is usually the wrong kind of attention
and would most likely see your CV heading for the bin before
it’s even read.

For the same reason do not use images such as clip art in your
CV.
So, your application and CV have done the trick and you’ve
been asked to attend an interview. Congratulations!
Interview tips
Most people, after the initial thrill of being invited to
interview, go into a bit of a panic. While this is natural it is not
entirely helpful.

An interview in its simplest form is a meeting, a chance not


only for the employer to meet you but for you to meet the
employer. Keep that in mind and use the interview as a
chance to find out if the job and workplace is what you
thought it was and whether it will be right for you and it
should be less nerve racking. Something else to bear in mind
is that most people conducting interviews have had little or no
training and are just as likely to be nervous as you are, we are
all human.

It should go without saying that you need to dress smartly,


though in practical terms this can present difficulties
depending on your disability. For example, being a wheelchair
user, I cannot wear suit jackets so when going to an interview I
tend to wear smart trousers, a shirt and tie.

It is usually a good idea to take a pen (and spare!), a


notebook, spare copy of your CV and a list of questions to ask
when you go to an interview. That way you have equipment
to make notes, any questions you need answers to are there
in front of you and you have your CV to refer to when
answering questions or discussing previous jobs or education
– because you can pretty much guarantee your mind will go
blank at the crucial moment!

But what is one of the most important things you need to do


once you have been invited to interview? Before the day
itself? Prepare! Check out the company, find out if you can
who the interviewer will be and where they fit into the
company, make notes of anything you find interesting – the
interviewer will be impressed if you can discuss in detail
something the company is working on and your level of
preparation.

Demonstrate that you are interested in the job and the


company and work out what you can offer them, can you look
at things in a different way to most people? Find different
solutions to problems? Can you offer the company something
extra than what they are asking for?

When speaking during the interview be confident. Answer


questions honestly and directly and try to keep eye contact
with the interviewer.

If you have are a wheelchair, crutch or stick user the


interviewer may ask about your disability. Any questions
asked should be purely in the spirit of working out what help,
support or adaptations may be necessary to enable you to
succeed in the job and should not be invasive or derogatory.
If you do not feel comfortable answering a question, for
example if it is very personal or probing, then politely refuse
and give reasons if you can. The interviewer should respect
your decision.

Be aware that either before, during or after the interview


there may be some free time where you are left in a room or
canteen area either alone or as part of a group. Some
companies use these breaks as part of the assessment
process, where several candidates may be left together to
have coffee or lunch, or a candidate may be placed in a setting
where existing employees are present. Keep in the back of
your mind that you may be being observed from a distance or
that the people you are mingling with may be asked for their
views afterwards. It can be a good idea to ask existing
employees about the company and their opinions of working
there, join in conversations and be careful what you say. Be
on your best behaviour basically.
Reasonable adjustments are changes that can be made to
your workplace, job or equipment to make working life easier
Reasonable and more fair for disabled people.
adjustments The Equality Act requires employers to make changes to help
disabled people work. These are known as 'reasonable
adjustments' and can include:

making changes to the building or premises where the person


works.

changing the way in which work is done.

providing equipment that will help the person do their job.

Most adjustments don't cost anything at all - just a change in


attitude. For others that do involve a cost, the Government
Access to Work scheme might be able to help.

Examples of reasonable adjustments in employment

An office lowers shelves and door handles so that an


employee who uses a wheelchair can reach them. All staff are
also told to ensure that boxes, bags and bins are not left in
walkways where they might get in the way of the wheelchair
user. This means that the office generally looks tidier and
there is less risk of anyone tripping over things left lying
around.

A small law firm employs a secretary who has arthritis in her


hands which means she has difficulty typing. Voice activated
software is installed on her computer which means she can
produce accurate word processed letters and agreements
quickly without having to type.

A shop allows an assistant who takes medication that makes


her drowsy in the mornings to start work and leave work an
hour later than the other assistant. This means that the shop
is able to stay open later and serve customers on their way
home at the end of the day.

A café employs a kitchen porter with a learning disability. The


owner of the café makes sure that he gets information about
health and safety and food hygiene in Easy Read which is
simple language with pictures and that everything is explained
to him in person as well to ensure he understands it. The Easy
Read information and explanations also help other workers
who don't speak English as a first language.

What is reasonable?

An employer on has to make adjustments that are reasonable.


When deciding if the adjustment is reasonable they should
consider:

how effective it will be in helping the person do their job.

whether it is practical to make the adjustment.

how much disruption, if any, will be caused to the business or


other people.

how much, if anything, the adjustment will cost and how


much money you have.

whether you can get help with making the adjustment and
towards its cost from a scheme like Access to Work.

The most important thing to remember is that treating


everyone the same does not mean that you are treating
everyone fairly. The Equality Act requires people to be treated
differently according to their needs by making reasonable
adjustments for them.
Under the Equality Act it is unlawful for an employer to treat a
disabled job applicant, or an employee, less favourably, simply
Discrimination because of their disability, i.e. worse than someone without
that disability when all surrounding circumstances including
the abilities of the disabled person, are the same. This type of
direct discrimination is unlawful and cannot be justified.

It is also unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled person


less favourably for a reason related to their disability unless
the treatment can be justified. Less favourable treatment can
only be justified if there is a material (i.e. relevant to the
specific circumstances of the particular case) and substantial
reason for it.

It is also unlawful for an employer to harass an employee


because of their disability. An employer also has a duty under
the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments to prevent a
disabled employee from being placed at a substantial
disadvantage by any physical feature of the premises, or by
any provision, criteria or practice of the employer.

The duty applies to all aspect of employment, including


recruitment and selection, training, transfer, career
development and retention.

If you feel you have been discriminated against for a reason


related to your disability you can find information and contact
the Citizens Advice Bureau at
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights
/disability_discrimination.htm

Or the Equality and Human Rights Council at


http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/
Dan McIntyre lives in Liversedge, West Yorkshire with his
Fiancee Yvonne and 3 children.
About Dan McIntyre
Dan has experience in writing CVs and matching people’s skills
and knowledge with available jobs and has worked for the
JobCentre as well as a training company working with
unemployed people helping them identify suitable work and
training opportunities and in a benefit office.

Dan holds a degree in IT having studied with the Open


University as well as ITIL version 3 certification and a level 2
NVQ in Administration.

Dan has also written car reviews and articles for Disabled
Motoring UK magazine and is currently working on his first
novel, with a working title of The Descent.

Dan can be contacted on 07920 844 269 or using the email


address me@danielmcintyre.co.uk
Thank you and I hope you enjoyed the presentation. Please
feel free to send feedback via email to
Feedback me@danielmcintyre.co.uk and please be honest – if I didn’t
cover something you would like to have seen or you feel
something could have been better please let me know. It’s
only when I know what needs improving that I can work on it.