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6.2 Disability

You can ask if a candidate needs an adjustment to the recruitment process to allow them to be considered for the job, or you can wait to be told.  You must make adjustments if they’re reasonable, after you’ve made a job offer, you can ask what adjustments they’ll need to do the job - source: 

Also refer to: 2.3 Inclusive Health Requirements

Avoiding Discrimination under the Equality Act (2010) for Disability:  

  • A School/Unit specifies that a driving licence is required for a job which involves limited travel. An applicant for the job has no driving licence because of the effects of cerebral palsy. They are otherwise the best applicant for that job, they could easily and cheaply do the travelling involved other than by driving and it is likely to be a reasonable adjustment for the School/Unit to let them do so.

= Discriminatory to insist on the specification and reject their application only because they have no driving licence. 

  • A School/Unit decides to reject applications from anyone who has had a career break. Unless the School/Unit can objectively justify the requirement for the successful applicant not to have had a career break.

= It may be discrimination arising from disability, if the applicant who is rejected for this reason is a disabled person.

  • A person applies for a job and asks for information in large print format because they have a visual impairment.  An administrator dealing with this does not understand what they are being asked to do and is not aware of School/Unit's duty to avoid discriminating against disabled people. She ignores the applicant’s request and the applicant is unable to apply for the vacancy.

= Could result in a failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments. 

  • When inviting job applicants for interview, a School/Unit asks applicants to say if they have any disability-related requirements for interview and states that the School/Unit will make reasonable adjustments.

= The right approach, so long as the School/Unit does not then use any information the applicants give to discriminate against them. 

  • A person specification states that applicants must have ‘good health’. 

= This criteria is too broad to relate to any specific requirement of the job and is therefore likely to amount to direct discrimination because of disability.

  • A requirement that the applicant must be ‘active and energetic’ when the job is a sedentary one is an irrelevant criterion. 

= Requirement could be discriminatory against some disabled people who may be less mobile.

  • A School/Unit uses a person specification for an accountant’s post that states ‘employees must be confident in dealing with external clients’ when in fact the job in question does not involve liaising directly with external clients. 

= Requirement is unnecessary and could lead to discrimination against disabled people who have difficulty interacting with others, such as some people with autism.

  • The School/Unit does not give someone the job, even though they are the best-qualified person, just because the applicant tells the School/Unit that they have a disabled partner. 

= Could lead to Discrimination by Association.

Inclusive tips:

  • Factor in requirements for making reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process and not for the selection process. This can be done by asking applicants to inform the School/Unit on a separate document or using a covering letter that does not contain any information relevant to deciding whether to take their application further.
  • The easiest way to make sure the information about reasonable adjustments is not used in the wrong way – to exclude a disabled person from the application process – is to make sure the person or people deciding which applicants to take through to the next stage of the process don’t see the information about reasonable adjustments before making their decision. 
  • If an applicant asks for information about the job and the application form to be given to them in an alternative format which they require because they are a disabled person then the School/Unit must provide this, so long as it is a reasonable adjustment – and it is likely to be. This could be information in large print, electronically or as an audio file. Everyone who is involved in the recruitment should be told what they have to do. 
  • Understanding the requirements of attendees is vital for them not to feel at a disadvantage compared to others. Such as not being able to attend a venue due to having short-term mobility or impairment issues; or disabilityExamples of considerations to be inclusive: 
    • Travelling to the venue – map of venue, parking, and effect of adverse weather
    • Physical accessibility – requests relating to walking on stairs, lift maintenance, flashing lights, noise, seating appropriateness, or level access, refer to: Physical Access Guide

    • Sensory accessibility – requests relating to visual and hearing impairments, refer to: Physical Access Guide 



Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096