Employers have a lot of responsibilities. One of these is to ensure that the employees and those applying for jobs are not discriminated against. The Equality Act is in place to protect individuals with disabilities to allow them a completely fair chance of obtaining work in any workplace in the UK. Sadly, many businesses are discriminating and some of these go on to be sued by the people they have let down.
If you are an employer you need to take a look at your premises and work out if you are doing enough when it comes to disabled access. If you are looking for new employees you have to be sure that anyone can apply. Both of these situations may require you to make some improvements. It is possible that the application forms or application process be altered so that everyone is able to easily apply and attend the interviews. Additionally you might need to improve the property itself or acquire some new equipment.
How Can You Comply with the Equality Act?
The first step to discover if you are an employer who is discriminating against certain individuals is by requesting an access audit. In an audit a consultant will come to your premises and take a look at your current provisions. They will be able to see if you are in compliance with the Equality Act and help by making recommendations on improvements. The consultants are able to give you their expert advice and show you ways on how to provide access for all of your employees and visitors to the premises.
At the end of the audit you will be given a detailed and easy to understand report with recommendations on the changes that need to be undertaken in order for you to be in compliance. The recommendations themselves are all given a priority status which follows the standards that have been set out in the Building Regulations and the Equality Act.
What Happens Next?
You will not just be left with a list of recommendations; the consultant also includes an action plan. The plan will enable you to quickly begin working on the urgent matters and give you an idea of the time scale and costs that may be entailed in the future work. If you choose your consultants carefully they will also work closely with you if required, to help you find the best possible solutions to fit in with your budget. At the end of each completed step in the plan the work can be evaluated to ensure it is up to standard.
Stay On Top of the Access
When you begin using the building in new ways, move premises or take on new employees it is a good idea to request new access audits. By doing so you are able to quickly tackle any fresh issues in order to prevent any legal action against you due to any new discrimination.
Another good idea is to always be in communication with your employees and ask them to let you know if they have any problems. Be sure they are aware that they can come to you or your chosen representative on the matter of access at any time without repercussions. When an issue is raised you should investigate it and consider calling in the consultants to check that any changes you might introduce are in compliance with the law and would benefit the individual.
Your Duty to Your Employees
Your duty as an employer is to provide a safe and suitable environment that meets the needs of everyone working or entering your premises. Disability access is an area you need to work on to avoid any legal action being brought against you.
Aki Hashimoto is an author and authority on access audits. Access audits ensure you are in compliance with the law and can provide you with detailed information on suitable changes that are required within your premises.