"My organisation currently employs two full time and one part-time member of staff. We now need to recruit a third full-timer. Do any of the recent changes to disability discrimination legislation affect the way I should conduct the recruitment process?"
There have not been any recent changes to the legislation in this area which will effect your recruitment process. However if the Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Bill is enacted there will be a considerable change. Your current position in relation to disability discrimination is governed by Section 7 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as amended by the Disability Discrimination (exemption for small employers) Order 1998. This section provides that small businesses, which are defined as businesses which employ less than fifteen employees, are exempt from the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and therefore the Act does not apply.
It is anticipated that the Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Bill will be brought into force on October 1, 2004. If and when the Bill is enacted your organisation will no longer be exempt as Section 7 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 will be repealed. Your organisation will therefore be subject to the Act and of course your recruitment process must comply with the requirements of this. If you take on your third full-timer after enactment of the Bill you must ensure that you do not discriminate against a disabled person in the arrangements you make for the purpose of determining to whom you should offer employment, in the terms on which you offer that person employment or by refusing to offer, or deliberately not offering, him or her employment (this includes the offer of interview) (Section 488 Disability Discrimination Act 1995).
Sean Egan is head of Bates Wells and Braithwaite?s Arts and Media department
t: 020 7551 7796; e: email@example.com