Posted on 19th May 2010

Just What the Legal Doctor Ordered

Nick Poole, Latimer Hinks SolicitorsNick Poole of Latimer Hinks solicitors is offering a free, initial employment documents health check to local businesses to help them avoid pitfalls associated with new employment legislation.

The Equality Act, which comes into force during October, brings disability, sex, race and other grounds of discrimination together within a single piece of legislation.

Major changes which businesses need to be aware of when it comes to the revised disability discrimination law include:

  • 1.Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, a defence to a claim of disability discrimination is the employer showing that what they have done is "justified. But under the new Act the employer will need to show that their actions are "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This means the new law will make it far more difficult for employers to justify an act of discrimination on the grounds of disability;
  • Up until October of this year, employers can use job application forms to seek information on whether an applicant is disabled in order to establish whether the applicant will require adjustments both during the selection process and in order to do the job in question and what these might be.However, from October it will become illegal for an employer to ask a job applicant questions about a disability or his/her health. The theory is that employers should be prevented from screening potential employees in order to avoid recruiting disabled people.
Nick Poole said: "The Equality Act widens the scope of discrimimation law and redefines a number of its key aspects and it is essential that businesses prepare properly for these changes.
"Conducting and audit of emplyment documents and procedures is of paramount importance as this will help prevent employers falling foul of the new rules and becoming entangled in time-consuming and costly discrimination disputes."
Organisations wishing to take up the offer if a free employment document health check should contact Nick on 01325 341500