As one submission noted Some employers and recruitment agencies are using

As one submission noted some employers and

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As one submission noted,
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Some employers and recruitment agencies are using medical tests to ‘screen out’ candidates with disabilities which are irrelevant to their ability to perform the job. This occurs particularly when the tests are used in a generic rather than job specific manner. Others reported that discrimination and negative attitudes had a more subtle impact on their experience of employment. I definitely made the correct decision when diagnosed about five years ago to limit the people and work colleagues who knew of my situation to a small number. Once the full extent of my situation became ‘public’ to work managers and HR, the barriers began to build. This took the form of well meaning but restrictive measures under the guise of ‘duty of care’. Freedom of movement including no longer being allowed to drive a work vehicle meant the loss of a portion of my independence, even though there were no restrictions on my driving outside of work. The psychological impact was that for the first time I started to feel like a disabled person rather than a person with a disability. Believe me, they are two very different feelings. It was clear from the submissions that there are still widespread misconceptions and stereotypes influencing the attitudes and behaviour of employers, recruiters and government. Such negative attitudes can restrict the ability of people with disabilities to get a job or, if they manage to obtain employment, impact on their ability to do their job effectively. The following comment illustrates the difficulties. I have had bosses in the past who don’t understand that I need an interpreter and they go ahead without one. It really puts me in a difficult situation to try to keep up with what is being said. Usually I end up just sitting there and can’t say anything, and don’t really follow. It makes me feel embarrassed and angry. Groups that experience significant social stigma, such as people with a mental illness or an intellectual disability, reported particular difficulties in obtaining and retaining employment. Submissions noted that the perception of employment as charity also has a negative impact on people with disabilities. The concept of ‘giving someone a break’ fails to recognise the important economic benefits of ensuring skilled individuals are able to participate fully in the economy. Greater independence also produces long-term benefits by enabling people to become less reliant on government income support. Submissions also made clear that there is considerable misunderstanding in the community about the cost of workplace adjustments. The need for expensive adjustments is often cited by employers as a reason for not employing more people with disabilities. But the cost is often considerably overestimated. As the following case study illustrates, the benefits of employing a skilled individual far outweigh the often small costs of modification.
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