The Disability Discrimination Act was created 25 years ago, so why is it still relevant in your small business?
Even though this month marked 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act, it’s still relevant for running a successful small business. But what’s changed over the years?
The act is still very relevant to hiring today. New data has revealed that disabled people were more than a third less likely to be employed than able-bodied people last year. And only around 50% of disabled people in the UK are employed in total.
These numbers have seen an incredibly slow increase over the last few years – but why? The minuscule gradual increase is frankly not enough.
The Disability Discrimination Act and your business
The Disability Discrimination Act was fought for by activists all over the UK 25 years ago. It lays out the law regarding recruitment, employment and harassment.
This is all basic be a good employer stuff really, so what’s so difficult?
Before we think about taking on someone new, you should assess how your business addresses equality and diversity. Are you hiring fairly?
Recruitment has always been competitive. If you have two people on your final shortlist – both with the same amazing credentials, personality and skills – would you see the disabled person as less viable for the role? Putting it in those words is outrageous – of course you wouldn’t, right?
But your unconscious bias can severely cloud your judgment.
At DigitalGrads we champion blind hiring. This is where personal information about the candidates is removed from the hiring process so your unconscious bias doesn’t get a say. We like to make recruitment about skills, so we encourage all of our clients to test candidates with an application task before meeting them in interviews. For more information about blind hiring and the success it can bring, check out our Cloudflare Case Study.
If you are conducting interviews and tasks in person, be sure to make your venue accessible. This means checking that building lifts work, that there is a ramp by the entrance if needed, that hallways and doors are sufficiently wide, that guide dogs are allowed inside and much more.
If you’re looking for some hiring help, check out our recruitment platform.
Now that we’re all working from home, making adjustments for your employees shouldn’t be too hard. But if you’re working from the office, you might need to adapt the space to make your new hire comfortable.
It’s worth asking them what they need and making sure to provide it. No matter where they’re working, they’re going to need the right equipment to be great at their job.
As a small business owner, it’s your job to create a great workplace. This does unfortunately mean you have to be on the look-out for any bad attitudes amongst your team.
Micro-aggressions can’t be ignored, so be sure to champion open communication, fairness and equality. This means pulling your co-workers up on their language. Anything remotely hostile or humiliating has to be nipped in the bud.
This can be a tricky thing to navigate, but you’ve got to stand your ground. Anyone that parrots the phrase “it’s just a joke” needs to be watched closely and reprimanded. This is serious stuff.
We really hope that you can champion equality in your small business. In 25 years I really don’t want to be writing this same article again. I want to write about how small businesses in the UK rallied to promote fair hiring and equality. I hope you feel the same.
If you ever need any help when fairly hiring talented juniors, you know who to call.