Employer obligations for disabled employees

Employer obligations for disabled employees

Employers must be mindful of disability laws to make sure they do not discriminate in their recruitment and workplace procedures. Workplace laws differ for each state, but the Disability Discrimination Act applies to all of Australia and lays the foundations for defining this kind of prejudice.

What is discrimination?
Disability discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably or not given the same opportunities as others in a similar situation because of their disability. Discrimination can be both direct and indirect. Refusing to interview or hire individuals solely because they are disabled, is direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination occurs when employers put in place conditions or requirements that appear to treat everyone the same but in reality do not. For example, requiring a deaf employee to attend meetings where there is no interpreter would be indirect discrimination.

The law acknowledges that in some circumstances treating someone differently because of their disability is justified because their disability means they cannot perform the inherent requirements of the job. However, the employer must consider reasonable adjustments that could help them complete these functions.

The Discrimination Act lists the following exceptions for refusing to employ an individual because they are disabled:

  • The decision is justified on public health grounds
  • Reasonable differences in the provision of insurance and superannuation
  • Combat positions in the Australian Defence force or Australian Federal Police

If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.

Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.

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