‘Protect people with progressive diseases’

New legislation is urgently required to prevent discrimination
against people with conditions such as cancer and HIV, the
Disability Rights Commission said this week.

In its first major review of the Disability Discrimination Act
1995, the commission is calling on the government to introduce
legislation to cover people with progressive conditions to ensure
they are protected against discrimination from when they are

At the moment, people are only covered once symptoms that make it
difficult for them to carry out daily activities develop.

The review, published this week, says it is vital that this and
other changes are introduced this year.

The commission said that although the government had indicated a
willingness to introduce more protection for disabled people
through a disability bill, no timetable had yet been

The commission is calling for people with hereditary conditions to
be protected by legislation. It says that those who are predisposed
to a disease but have no symptoms are being sacked from their jobs
due to employers’ fears about the future.

Other proposals include giving employment tribunals the power to
order employers to reinstate a disabled person if it has been ruled
that they were unfairly dismissed from work, and for hate crimes
against disabled people to become a criminal offence. The
commission also wants to see the removal of the requirement that a
mental illness be “clinically well recognised” in order to be
covered by the act.

– Disability Equality: Making it Happen from www.drc.org.uk

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