What is the definition of a Disability?
The Disability Discrimination Act considers a person disabled if:
- He/she has a longstanding physical or mental condition or disability that has lasted or is likely to last at least 12 months; and
- This condition or disability has a substantial adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Supporting disabled students and staff at the University
For many years supporting disabled students and staff at Queen’s University has been a key priority. Support – whether by providing easy access to many of our new and refurbished buildings, providing information, training and advice or helping develop peoples’ skills and confidence through programmes such as our Inclusive Employment Scheme is all part of the process of ensuring that we provide a modern, accessible, and rewarding environment for all staff.
Under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995) (as amended by Article 5 of the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006), Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is required when carrying out its functions to have due regard to the need to:
- promote positive attitudes towards disabled people; and
- encourage participation by disabled people in public life
Disability Action Plan
Designated public authorities are subject to two interrelated duties under Sections 49A and 49B of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Section 49A places a duty on designated public authorities to have due regard to the need:
- to promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons; and
- to encourage participation by disabled persons in public life.
Section 49B places a duty on each designated public authority to prepare a plan outlining how it proposes to fulfil the Section 49A duty. A plan is a description of procedural and practical arrangements that each public authority has committed to. These plans are commonly called Disability Action Plans (DAPs).
Informing the University of your Disability
Queen’s University aims to create a supportive and inclusive environment to ensure staff feel comfortable in disclosing a disability or long term condition.
Employees with a Disability are also protected under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). This includes protection from Direct Discrimination, Disability Related Discrimination, failure by the employer to make reasonable adjustments, victimisation and harassment in relation to their disability.
For staff there are two considerations when you are disclosing a disability.
- Declaring a Disability to access support and reasonable adjustments
If you wish to disclose your disability to obtain support you should have a confidential conversation with your line manager. You may also wish to include your HR Business Partner. They are responsible for providing support and implementing reasonable adjustments as required. They may also make a referral to Occupational Health if necessary.
- Declaring a Disability for Equality Monitoring and Policy Development
We need to keep accurate records of staff with a disability as we use this information to fulfil our obligations under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which requires the University in carrying out all its functions to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity. It also enables us to effectively monitor, evaluate and review our policies and procedures and develop affirmative or positive action policies (if required).
You can update the equality monitoring information held about you at any time by logging into iTrent Self Service, then select “Sensitive Information (Diversity and Inclusion) and complete the Disability Section by choosing from the relevant drop down menu. You can add additional information into the comments box if you wish.
This information is confidential and can only be viewed by staff within the Diversity and Inclusion Unit. It will not be shared with your line manager. In addition to monitoring and policy development we use this database to:
- ensure Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (when required) are completed in a timely manner in conjunction with our Estates department. In the event of an emergency, such as the activation of the fire alarm, it is necessary that all members of staff are able to evacuate their place of work. Some colleagues who have mobility problems or visual or hearing impairments will find evacuation problematic and for those persons it is necessary that the University puts in place a Personal Evacuation Emergency Plan (PEEP).
- regularly write out to staff registered on the HR system as having declared a Disability to invite applications to our “Disability Support Fund”. This fund can be used to contribute towards the purchase of specialist equipment or assistive technology to assist staff with a disability in carrying out their duties at work.
- write out to staff to inform them about our Disabled Staff Network or to pass on relevant information we receive from Employers for Disability NI, of which Queen’s are members.
If you have any queries in relation to declaring a disability please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Unit for advice email@example.com
Please to read more about how the University has actively supported staff with disabilities or long-term medical conditions, or staff caring for family members:
- Francis Keenan - Professor of Astrophysics and Former Head of School of Mathematics and Physics
- Bronagh Byrne - Lecturer, Social Policy
- Dr Will Pitner - Postdoctoral Researcher, Chemical Engineer, Ionic Liquids
- William Houppy - Technician, School of Pharmacy, originally came to Queen's under the Inclusive Employment Scheme and then applied and was successful in gaining employment as a Technician. Watch a video about his working life at Queen's by clicking on his name above.
Disability Research Network
The Disability Research Network at Queen's University is a multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at enhancing collaboration between academics, policymakers, practitioners and community and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in disability studies and research.
It provides a unique opportunity for members to share knowledge and disseminate the growing body of disability research being carried out in Northern Ireland, stimulate debate about disability issues and develop collaborative partnerships for future disability research and further development of disability policy and practice. For more, please click here to visit their website.
Staff Disability Support Network
Queen’s University currently have a Staff Disability Support Network which allows those with a disability across the university to come together to chat and share ideas and experiences. If you wish to join please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Employers For Disability NI
Queen’s University is a member of Employers for Disability NI (EFDNI) which is a network of employers—drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors—working to promote training and employment opportunities and accessibility for people with disabilities as employees and customers.
Further information: About | EFDNI
The University values and promotes equality and diversity and works to ensure that it treats all individuals fairly and with dignity and respect.
The University seeks to provide equality to all and ensures that both employees and applicants with a disability enjoy equality of opportunity.Supporting Staff with a Disability
Over the last number of years, the University has been able to assist staff with disabilities.
By contributing towards the purchase costs of various pieces of office equipment such as larger monitors, specialist chairs etc.Staff Disability Support Fund