Disability and Discrimination in the Workplace Exercise
Are these situations cases of discrimination? If so, what type?
A large hotel chain introduces a new telephone exchange and caller ID system. One of the receptionists, Julie, has a visual impairment and has previously used software to enlarge the text on the screen but it is not compatible with the new exchange. The notification as for whether a call is external or internal is identified on screen as the call comes in, but this is too small for Julie to see. Extensive discussions take place to see if Julie could have a standard greeting but this is declined by the head office. Julie’s contract is terminated.
Yes – direct discrimination.
Barry has a severe visual impairment, which cannot be corrected by glasses. He is not selected for a job as a bus driver as he cannot carry out the essential requirements of the job.
No – this is not discrimination. This is likely to be justified as the reason he is not selected is a substantial one, and is clearly linked to the safe performance of the role, and where no reasonable adjustments could be made.
James has an eating disorder. His manager knows he has an eating disorder and she makes offensive remarks in the open plan office about people with anorexia.
Yes – this is harassment.
Gregor’s arthritis has worsened. He has an adapted car he uses to get to work, but now finds it more and more difficult walking from the nearest car park to the office where he works. He asks The Human Resources department if he can park in one of the company car park places outside the office. The HR manager turns down his request because the spaces are only for managers and the Board. The HR Manager suggests Gregor gets a wheelchair.
Yes – this is direct discrimination and a refusal to make reasonable adjustments.