Disability Discrimination Act

Question: I wonder if you can help – I am trying to find out if RSI is covered by the disability discrimination act and I was wondering if anyone knows where RSI sufferers stand with this. (Sorry if this has been asked before)

Answer 1: Contact the RSI for their pamphlet, you will find much information and advice of who to contact and procedures.

Answer 2: The simple answer to your DDA question is this: yes. The more complex answer lies in material the RSI Association will have.

Answer 3: The easy answer is yes – The hard answer is that the DDA is yet to be defined in court. It should be covered, but until the Act is given some teeth………  Your PACT team (job centre) will have information on how they will be interpreting the act.  The biggest problem is that ‘reasonable discrimination’ is still allowed AND little work was done on defining the borderline between ‘reasonable’ and ‘unreasonable. The only people to win in the early years will be the Lawyers yet again.

Answer 4: There’s just been an example of the Disability Discrimination Act having an effect on an employer’s policies. This concerned asthma, but it could well have been RSI.  Ladbrokes (the betting shop people) were operating a blanket ban on employing anybody with asthma. They’ve refused to explain the reasons for the policy, but it’s assumed (not denied by Ladbrokes) that they were trying to guard against any possibility of asthmatic employees suing them for damages on account of the smoky atmosphere.

A JobCentre (location not revealed) found out about the policy and suspended dealings with Ladbrokes. Quote from JobCentre internal memo:  “The service’s legal advisers have confirmed that vacancies for Ladbrokes betting shops should not be serviced. Ladbrokes Racing will not consider any applicant with asthma. This potentially contravenes the Disability Discrimination Act.”  As a result, Ladbrokes have changed their policy (at least on paper).

It struck me as a classic case: instead of tackling the risks in the workplace (smoky atmosphere is risky for all workers, not just asthmatics), the employers treat the affected workers as the problem. Does anyone recognize this scenario?  I thought it was mildly encouraging that the JobCentre were sufficiently worried about the DDA to take action.

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