How effective is the Equality Act 2010 at getting people with disabilities in to employment
In 1995 the Disability Discrimination Act was established to prevent people with disabilities being treated unlawfully. The Disability Discrimination Act remained in force until all the discrimination acts was consolidated into one, the Equality Act (EA) 2010. The Act was introduced to promote equality and diversity and was designed to enhance clarity, making it easier to understand for both employers and employees if discrimination was taking place. This assignment determines the effectiveness of the EA 2010 specifically getting adults with disabilities in to employment.
According to the Department for Working Pensions (2012, DWP) “you are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”. Over the past century society has come a long way with how it views people with disabilities; years ago people with such needs were protected looked after and would not be seen working. With the changes in the, law disabled people now have the right to be included in society and are viewed as equals. The law states that disabled people have the same rights to employment as any other individual.
There are over 10 million disabled people in the UK, one in seven are working age adults (ODI, 2012). Under the EA 2010, “It’s against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability.” (DWP, 2012). The term “disabled” will be used throughout this essay whilst it can be seen as a term that is not favourable, it is used throughout the office of national statistics (ONS) website.
After analysing the statistics tabled within Appendix A, it would appear that the EA 2010 is continuing to support disabled people within employment, with an increase of 0.5% of disabled people within employment from 2010 – 2012. Appendix B highlights that the gap between disabled and non-disabled people has remained the same to date since 2010, recorded at 29.1% when compared against 2012, recorded at 29.1%. This statistics on appearance would seem deplorable. Although it would seem that the trend line has narrowed at points, this data would show that actually the EA is not working and the gap between the two is still far too wide. The statistics used are provided by the labour force survey and are a voluntary source of data providing the latest public perceptions of disabled people. (ODI, 2012)
The trend line suggests that the act seems to be working. This would conclude that disabled people are now finding it easier to gain employment than before the introduction. According to the data it would also mean that the areas within the EA i.e. dismissal, pay, recruitment, training, redundancy and Promotion is effective and discrimination as far as employment is concerned is improving, supporting that Disabled people are accepted in to employment.
External factors which could explain the reasons why there is such a noticeable decline on the trend line need to be considered. In 2008 we hit a world recession caused by the banking crisis in America. This has had a significant effect on the UK’s economy affecting employment levels throughout. Although the downturn started in 2008 the effects of the recession are still being felt in 2012. As the EA did not come in to affect until 2010 has the Act been giving enough time to take effect.
Another factor is whilst the ONS is seen as a good source to collect data from; the number of people who actually took part in this survey has not actually been published; knowing such information may give a different reflection on the statistics. There is also a gap in data recorded between 2009 and 2010. This was due to an improvement in the way disabilities were reported which makes a direct comparison challenging with pre-2010 data. Therefore you have to question the validity.
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