Prospect believes people are disabled by external barriers and that, by removing these physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from accessing work and services and living independently, we can ensure their full participation, to everyone’s benefit.
We encourage our representatives to adopt this social model, based on what disabled people can do rather than what they cannot do, in workplace negotiations.
It distinguishes between impairment – a characteristic or long-term trait that may result from an injury, disease or condition – and disability, which is experienced by people with an impairment when society does not take sufficient account of their needs.
It compares to the medical model, which presents impairments as the cause of disadvantage and exclusion, rather than considering how to make workplaces accessible.
The Equality Act outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of disability and requires employers to provide reasonable adjustments to allow for the full participation of disabled people.
The Act includes a public-sector duty to promote disability equality and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. (Although it applies only in the public sector, we urge representatives to ensure the good practice associated with it is introduced in all workplaces.)
The Act defines a person with a disability as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Prospect provides advice and guidance to members and representatives that includes:
- understanding what reasonable adjustments may be required in the workplace
- ensuring that absence management policies take account of individuals’ disabilities where necessary
- negotiating a period of disability leave, to enable the employee and employer to adjust where an individual has become disabled or their disability changes in some way
- ensuring that employers take account of disabilities issues in all their policies related to recruitment and retention, promotion, training, redeployment and redundancy.
Our negotiator’s guide to disability equality focuses on workers’ rights and contains valuable ammunition for reps dealing with personal cases. It also provides impetus to get disability issues on the negotiating agenda.
We’ve also published:
- an equality briefing that contains detailed guidance on disability discrimination and appraisal and performance systems
- an employment law briefing onunfair dismissal, performance management and disability
- guidance on pre-employment health questions
- a briefing detailing Prospect resources to promote disability equality,
- and an access policy for Prospect staff and branches organising events.
Prospect can provide our national publications in accessible formats. For more information, go to http://www.prospect.org.uk/resources_and_publications/accessibility.
Prospect has a disabled members’ network that seeks comments on proposals by the union and employers, and updates members about courses and campaigns. Members are able to contact and support each other. Learn more about Prospect’s networks and how to join.
Neurodiversity: Several million British workers are affected by neurodiverse conditions such as autism spectrum conditions, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. We have published comprehensive advice and guidance for members, representatives and managers.
Public resources for disability
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s code of practice on employment gives examples of reasonable adjustments and includes best practice for employers
- TUC guide: Trade Unions and Disabled Members: Why the social model matters
- TUC briefing: Words Can Never Hurt Me? A TUC briefing on avoiding language which may be offensive to disabled people
- TUC manifesto: A manifesto for Disability Equality
- TUC guide: Using the TUC Manifesto for Disability Equality: A guide for trade union activists
- TUC report: Disability and employment: a social model study of the employment experiences of disabled people in Great Britain, with a focus on mental illness
- TUC negotiator’s guide: Sickness absence and disability discrimination
- TUC briefing: Trade unions and Disabled People fighting austerity
- TUC guide: You don’t look disabled: supporting members with invisible impairments
- TUC guidance: Representing and supporting members with mental health problems at work
- TUC report: Good practice in workplace mental health
- TUC publication: Family-Friendly Rights: Transforming Britain’s Workplaces
- TUC report: Talent not tokenism: The business benefits of workforce diversity
- Time to change campaign: Let’s end mental health discrimination
- MIND guides, tips and other resources for mental health: mind.org.uk/work
- NHS initiative: Be a mindful employer and be positive about mental health
- ACAS guidance: Promoting positive mental health in the workplace
- ACAS advice and guidance: Flexible working and work-life balance
- TUC guide: Epilepsy in the workplace
- Breast Cancer Care guidance: Breast cancer and employment
- Macmillan policy report: Making the shift: Providing specialist work support to people with cancer
- Macmillan toolkit: to help employers support people with cancer at work
- Macmillan cancer support line: call 0808 808 00 00 (Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm)
- Macmillan website: information and support on work and cancer
- Macmillan guide: Your rights at work (if you have or have had cancer)
- TUC guide: Cancer in the Workplace: A Workbook for Union Representatives
- TUC guide: Occupational cancer: A workplace guide
- Government grant: Get help at work if you’re disabled or have a health condition (Access to Work)
- Department for Work & Pensions guidance: Access to Work factsheet for customers
- Multiple Sclerosis Society guidance: Work and MS
- Multiple Sclerosis Society helpline: call 0808 800 8000 or mail email@example.com
- BBC News article: Why disabled achievers should be remembered
Please let us know if any of the links on this page are not working by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can either remove or fix them where possible.
Prospect resources for equality and diversity
Prospect provides advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues, which can be accessed under the Resources tab in the left-hand navigation menu. This includes links to guides, posters and leaflets etc.