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Myth busting

Stupid reasons people give for not employing disabled people, and what to say back

Click on a stupid reason and find out what to say…

a disabled person couldn’t do this job...

  • you can usually adapt the systems in the organisation to accommodate the disabled person (usually it’s not so much that the disabled person couldn’t do the job but that the organisation isn’t set up for them to do so)
  • you should be prepared to adapt a job if there are certain physical aspects someone can’t do (maybe if was a particular task you could re distribute the job within the team), Be prepared to do this for up to 10% of the job
  • is that because they need training?
  • If you’ve written your job description properly you won’t get people applying who can’t do it (they wouldn’t have been able to meet the criteria).

no disabled people ever apply...

  • How about actively discussing your vacancy with people who serve the disabled community. Get the message out, being clear and pro active that a disabled person could do that job.
  • Look at the general image of the organisation - how accessible, how friendly the staff are. Does this come over?
  • How do you know? How do you monitor applications, are people being truthful in their responses to your questions?

A disabled person would not be as reliable...

  • They might be more reliable instead (there is no statistical evidence of any unreliability in relation to disabled people and employment)
  • Often disabled people stay in jobs for longer (geographically, some disabled people don’t have the same freedom to move around as they would have to change so many things)
  • a larger number of disabled people are self employed too, so this means disabled contractors may even be more reliable than non-disabled ones!

the rest of the staff wouldn’t like it....

  • How do you know?
  • There might be assumptions about people needing extra help/support, maybe being a liability, this is something that could be dealt with through training.
  • staff need to be talked to and involved, some people have deep seated fears of particular impairments, for example, mental health issues, being contagious.

we can’t just change everything for one person...

  • If something needed changing for one person then it probably needed changing for the whole organisation.

it would be too expensive....

  • For new staff members, additional access costs needed cost you a penny – find out more about Access to Work
  • The Disability Rights Commission states that the average cost of adaptations for a disabled employee is just £76, as lots of disabled people don’t need any adjustments at all.

no disabled people work here, so there is no point making changes…

  • Why is making a change seen as being a negative thing? People who say this have a fear of change and are apathetic. Counter this kind of attitude with training
  • If no disabled people work somewhere, maybe there is a reason – poor access and physical barriers or simply poor attitudes. Why not get someone in to do some research if you can’t see the barriers yourself?
  • Employers might think that just because they don’t have access to their buildings and they can’t employ wheelchair users that they can’t employ any disabled people but only 4% people use wheelchairs plus an extra 2% of people with mobility difficulties, which leaves the other 94%. Being open and up front, being clear what the access issues are where you are and then welcome everyone else!