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Read the scenario and answer the related questions.
Ellen (28yrs) has been successful in her application for a Diploma position at a local children’s education and care service. She is looking forward to her interview but is a little nervous. Ellan has been out of the work force for 12 months due to injuries received in a car accident. Ellen lost around 50% vision in her right eye. She has limited peripheral vision in her right eye meaning that her field of vision is restricted. Ellen compensates for this by turning her head.
Ellen did not state on her application that she has loss of vision as she believes it will not hinder her job role.
The interview goes extremely well and it is evident to the panel that Ellen is an excellent candidate. At the conclusion of the interview one of the panel members asks Ellen about her right eye. ‘I noticed that you turn your head more to the right. Your right eye looks different to your left eye. Do you have a loss of vision?’
Ellen answers honestly but feels that her chances of being offered the job are now quite slim.
When discussing the candidates at the conclusion of the interview process there is debate about Ellen. She was clearly the most outstanding candidate but some panel members question her ability to notice detail or see children out of her direct line of sight. Others argue that she should be offered the job based on merit.
The panel are divided and the chairperson must make the final decision.
Six weeks later
Ellen has been working at the service, with reasonable adjustment, for two weeks when several educators complain to Director Kate that Ellen’s disability is placing children at risk because Ellen has not always noticed if intervention/action needs to be taken with a child under her supervision when outdoors. The educators complain that it is unfair that they should have to take on extra supervision responsibility because of Ellen’s disability.
What legal obligations must the Chairperson take into account when making a final decision?
The Chairperson states that Ellen should be offered the position and that in doing so reasonable adjustment can be made to accommodate her vision loss. Explain the employer’s obligation in relation to ‘reasonable adjustment’ as set out in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
How is ‘reasonable adjustment’ defined?
What does ‘reasonable adjustment’ allow a person to achieve in the workplace?
Question 19 e
1. What is the issue? Note – the issue is not Ellen’s disability
2. Suggest one open-ended question that Kate could ask to gain a clearer understanding of the concerns.
3. What do those complaining want (what are their interests)?
4. Before going any further Kate decides to discuss the concerns with Ellen. What might Kate ask Ellen?
5. Suggest two options that Kate could put to the complainants (and Ellen) for consideration.
Is this situation an example of discrimination/workplace bullying? Why/Why not?
Question 19 -
- She has limited peripheral vision in her right eye meaning that her field of vision is restricted
- her ability to notice detail or see children out of her direct line of sight.
- Ellen has not always noticed if intervention/action needs to be taken with a child under her supervision when outdoors.