What is disability?
For the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1993 disability means:
- physical disability or impairment (e.g. respiratory conditions)
- physical illness
- psychiatric illness (e.g. depression or schizophrenia)
- intellectual or psychological disability or impairment (e.g. learning disorders)
- any other loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function (e.g. arthritis or amputation)
- reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other remedial means
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness (e.g. HIV/AIDS or hepatitis).
Disabilities affect people in different ways. Not everyone will require a change to the working environment. For those who do, approaches or accomodations will vary.
The most important thing when working with disabled people is to be flexible. If you have a question, ask the person.
Remember, as an employer you do not need the medical details about someone's disability. What you need to understand is how, if at all, the disability will impact on the way they do their job.