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Is your disability impacting your work?

 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that in 2012, 8.8% of the total Australian workforce population had a disability and were in paid employment.

Disability in the workplace is common, but what happens when you are told you can’t perform your job because of your disability?

In Australia, discrimination in the workplace is regulated at both a state and national level.

What is a disability?

The law defines disability as:

  • total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing or capable of causing disease or illness; or
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;
  • and includes a disability that:
    • presently exists; or
    • previously existed but no longer exists; or
    • may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
    • is imputed to a person.

What are your rights?

The law provides that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the ground of disability.

Provided you can perform the inherent requirements of your job, your employer can’t do the following because of your disability:

  • Treat you less favourably compared to someone without a disability in the same or similar circumstance.
  • Alter the terms or conditions of your employment.
  • Deny or limit you access to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training or to any other benefits associated with employment.
  • Dismiss you.
  • Subject you to any other detriment.

If you require reasonable adjustments to enable you to perform your job, your employer is required to provide you with ‘reasonable’ adjustments.

Should you need any advice regarding your disability in the workplace our Employment Law team can help. Please contact us on 9521 6000.