And there's more... (and then I stop - I promise!)
Andrew Smith, the Works and Pensions Secretary, has announced that the government will be accepting a number of recommended changes to the draft Disability Discrimination Bill which is expected to come into force in 2006.
The majority of the changes (and, indeed, the Bill itself) are concerned with the extension of disability discrimination protection outside the employment field, for example in areas such as transport and housing.
The areas which will affect employment practitioners include:
- bringing a larger number of people with mental illnesses within the definition of 'disability', by removing the requirement that their condition be clinically well-recognised.
- bringing within the scope of the DDA more people diagnosed with progressive conditions such as HIV, MS and cancer
- introducing a 'questionnaire' procedure
Whilst on the subject, don't forget that from 1st October 2004 the 'small-employer' exemption in the DDA vanishes. So does the exemption for firefighters, prison officers and barristers (a prize to anyone who can tell me what firefighters, prison officers and barristers have in common!)