By Gavin Scarr Hall, Director of Health & Safety at Peninsula 

1 in 5 of the working-age population in the UK have a disability, including physical ailments and mental health conditions.

Perhaps more shockingly, only 52% of people with disabilities are in employment.

The number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.2 million since 2013, which signals some improvement in this area. But, with one-third of disabled people still feeling that there is disability prejudice in the UK, there’s clearly still a long way to go.

Last month, one woman was awarded over £2 million at tribunal when it was proved she was treated unfavourably “because of something arising from disability” and was fired just two days after an operation for colon cancer.

Similarly, an employment tribunal has ruled that a management agent company failed to make reasonable adjustments for a man whose “extreme anxiety” prevented him from attending a Microsoft Teams hearing.

Now that many employers are welcoming staff back into the workplace it’s time to ensure those who are affected by disability are given the tools and facilities to thrive at work, and that recruitment practises are developed to help more people with disabilities enter the workplace.

With tribunals relating to cases like menopause (severe symptoms of which can amount to a disability), long Covid and mental health on the rise, there’s never been a more appropriate time for employers to consider these top tips for supporting those with disabilities:

  1. Make reasonable adjustments

Under the Equality Act 2010, there is a legal duty for employers to make reasonable adjustments in the course of employment for those employees who would otherwise face a substantial disadvantage because of their disability.

Reasonable adjustments don’t always come at great expense; there are many small steps an employer can do to greatly improve the working conditions of someone with a disability and to promote equality in the workforce.

Essentially, reasonable adjustments aim to provide an equal platform, to allow all employees to work in the same way and have the same chance at success. Some common ones include amending start/finish times, reducing duties, allowing homeworking, and implementing physical changes, such as supportive equipment, chairs, screens, keyboard/mouse, ramps, handrails, etc.


  1. Foster a culture of open communication

Every person is different, with different needs. To be able to implement the most effective adjustments to suit your employees, it’s always best to have individual discussions with them to understand fully their requirements and what course of action would be most beneficial for them. Regularly scheduled 1-2-1’s is a good place to start.


  1. Become an inclusive employer

Organisations should also take steps to become an inclusive employer to encourage those with disabilities to apply for roles by improving their disability recruitment practices.

This could be by:

  • Ensuring that the company website and job descriptions are all accessible to those with different needs
  • Putting statements in job adverts to encourage applications from under-represented groups, such as “we are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applicants from all age groups”
  • Offering training to help certain groups get opportunities or progress at work
  • Offering mentoring to groups with needs, including disabilities
  • Hosting open days specifically for under-represented groups, to encourage them to get into a particular field.


  1. Consider wider approaches to encourage workplace inclusion

Examples can include introducing diversity and unconscious bias training for managers and communicating a clear zero-tolerance approach to any form of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.

Employers who do these things – adjusting recruitment practises to promote inclusion, providing effective adjustments for their people, and introducing training and policies – will see the benefit from increased satisfaction, motivation, productivity, and long-term retention amongst their workforces.

However, those who fail to give adequate consideration to these practises risk tribunal claims being raised against them, including for discrimination, constructive dismissal and unfair dismissal.”