Many more people can benefit from the protection of the “Disability Discrimination Act” (DDA) than realise it. The DDA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on her/his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
Long-term” means an effect that has lasted or is likely to last more than a year. “Impairment” is considered as if you were not using any medication or other treatment, so you may be covered by the DDA even if your condition is so well managed that it is not currently having any impact on your day-to-day activities.
Disability is an issue that will affect nearly all of us, if we live long enough. For more information, see the UNITE web site.
If you believe you are disabled, it is important that you record this as part of your details on Self Service. If you have not told officially the company that you are disabled (even if your manager knows), it could be harder to complain about discrimination.
Due to a recent ruling in the courts (UKHL 43) it is more important than ever that employees with disabilities covered by the DDA request the “reasonable adjustments” that they require from their employer. It will now be much more difficult to win a case for disability discrimination if you have not done this.
“Reasonable adjustments” could range from changes to the physical organisation of your work, additional equipment, modified work procedures, hours, working practices, application of company policies and procedures etc.
ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, recommends that disability-related and pregnancy-related sickness/absence is recorded separately from other sick leave. Unfortunately Fujitsu does not do this as a matter of course, which is particularly worrying given the recent punitive changes to the attendance policies. In light of the above ruling, your reps recommend that if you have a disability as defined by the DDA, or are pregnant, that you write to your manager requesting:
“I am writing to request a reasonable adjustment that all disability-related/pregnancy-related absence [delete as applicable] is recorded separately, and is not included in calculations for the purposes of utilisation, appraisal, bonus, redundancy selection, attendance management or any other purpose which might lead me to suffer detriment as a result of my disability / pregnancy [delete as applicable]. On the same basis I am requesting that I am allowed paid time off during working hours to attend medical appointments or undertake treatment as required.”
It’s important that you get to any response to these requests in writing and keep the response somewhere safe.
If you require further guidance, please contact your UNITE rep, or our UNITE Equality Reps in Manchester.

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit are balloting for industrial action over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

Further information is available here including a downloadable appeal for support leaflet and how to donate to our strike fund.

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