An equal opportunities policy is a necessary precursor to the employment of people with disabilities. It can be referred to in job advertisements and specifies how equality of opportunity will be actively promoted within an organisation. It is also recognition that discrimination has no place within a modern employment relationship. The policy should be endorsed by staff and union officials and incorporate the experiences of all involved in the company.
Such a policy can play a valuable part in an organisation’s strategy in meeting challenges posed by labour market conditions, as discrimination against certain categories of employees is not only unlawful, but impedes the realisation of the potential of all employees. It is also an effective tool in ensuring that all employees are aware of the company policy on equal opportunities and discrimination, thereby clearly setting standards of conduct.
A positive action programme to enable an under-represented group to develop to its full potential within the work environment can complement an equal opportunities policy. Section 33 (1) of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and 2004 allows measures to be taken to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to any of the discriminatory grounds (other than the gener ground). Section 35 (2) enables employers to provide special treatment or facilities for people with disabilities to avail of work or vocational training.
The Act outlaws discrimination on grounds of disability in relation to:
- access to employment;
- conditions of employment;
- training or experience for, or in relation to, employment;
- promotion or regrading;
- classification of posts
Wednesday, 2 July 2008