Identifying disability-friendly employers
There are some ways in which you can easily identify those employers who positively encourage disabled people to apply for their jobs or work experience placements.
Although employers are bound by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to treat you fairly, some have demonstrated that they are particularly positive about employing disabled people.
The points below may help you identify those employers.
The 'two ticks' disability symbol
Some employers make very clear their commitment to employing disabled people by placing the Jobcentre Plus 'two ticks' disability symbol on their job adverts.
This means the employer has made certain specific commitments regarding the employment of disabled people. The symbol also means that you are guaranteed an interview if you meet the minimum criteria for the job.
Equal opportunities policies
Many employers have equal opportunities policies. If so, then the employer will be aware of, and should act upon, the provisions within those policies with regard to recruiting and employing without prejudice. You may feel more comfortable disclosing a disability to a company which has declared that it has such policies in place.
An employer may include a statement in a job advert that positively encourages disabled people to apply and affirms that the employer is clear about their legal responsibilities under the DDA.
Job adverts and application forms
Look out for the following:
* is the 'two ticks' symbol displayed on adverts and application forms?
* has an employer advertised in a wide range of formats, for example, large print or audio tape?
* where did you see the advert? Some employers deliberately place adverts in places where disabled people are more likely to see them, such as with a Disability Employment Adviser at a Jobcentre Plus office
* are application forms available in different formats?
* are arrangements in place that enable candidates to submit forms in the format best suited to them?
* are you asked on the application form to say whether any special provisions are required at interview?
* is there a section on the application form setting out very briefly their duty as an employer to make adjustments and asking you to comment on any adjustments you think you might need because of disability or a health condition?
If you are worried about this last issue and would welcome help, talk to your Disability Employment Adviser. They can help you decide on the best way to explain your suitability for the job or, if you would find it helpful, they may contact the employer on your behalf.
* Disability Employment Advisers
* Employment rights and the Disability Discrimination Act
Declaring a disability
You don't have to volunteer information about your disability, but it may be a good idea to do so - especially if the company has indicated that it is positive about employing disabled people.
If you do not declare a disability, an employer does not have to make reasonable adjustments to recruitment and selection processes if they could not reasonably be expected to be aware of it.
* Declaring a disability
Work experience placements
A work experience placement can be a great way of trying out a career you're interested in. The DDA covers those people who are on practical work experience undertaken as part of their vocational training.
Skill: the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities produces 'Into Work Experience', a guide for disabled people priced from £2.50. It includes advice on finding and starting a work placement, an explanation of your legal rights and profiles detailing the experiences of disabled people. There's also a section for employers.
You can buy a copy of the guide in the online bookshop of the Skill website.
'Into Work Experience' guide - Skill website