Many employers have become increasingly adept over the years at understanding the difficulties that can be encountered by disabled employees and the additional measures that may need to be put in place to compensate for those difficulties and enable the disabled employee to participate effectively in the workplace.
Thanks in part to increasing public awareness generally and the gradual erosion of prejudice and misunderstanding, conditions which were previously glossed over and ignored are now being discussed more openly. Old stigmas and outdated views are gradually being dismantled and employers are beginning to understand that a pro-active and informed approach to neurodiversity can result in lasting and positive outcomes.
What is neurodiversity?
In its simplest terms, neurodiversity refers to a difference in brain processing which impacts upon an individual’s learning, sensory processing and social interaction.
Current research suggests that as much as 15% of the general population are neurodivergent.
Some of the more commonly encountered neurodiverse conditions include dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism and ADHD.
Are all neurodivergent employees disabled?
The short answer is no. Neurodivergence exists on a spectrum. Accordingly, there are many individuals with a neurodivergent condition who would not class themselves as being disabled.
The key legislation for employment law purposes is the Equality Act 2010 ("EqA"). The EqA confirms that the key test for establishing whether an individual will be considered as being disabled (for the purposes of the Act) is as follows:
Are there any particular risks that we should be aware of?