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Dementia in the workplace

View profile for Natalie Gibbons
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Alzheimer’s Society is Chattertons charity of the year and all employees have undergone training to become a dementia friendly firm.  Dementia can affects us all in many ways, therefore it is vital that we increase our understanding of Dementia to ensure people living with Dementia do not feel isolated and marginalised from society.  

Dementia is a progressive disorder that affects how the brain functions. There are many different types of dementia including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and while it mainly affects people over the age of 65, it can affect younger people too. Having dementia does not always mean a person cannot live a normal life, so with the workforce aging and the retirement age rising, knowledge of dementia is extremely important. It is therefore essential that employers are able to address the needs of people with dementia in the workplace.  

Employers should also bear in mind that whilst it is ultimately a decision for a tribunal or court, it is highly likely that a person with dementia will be classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. Under the Act, a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

A person who is found to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010 receives legal protection from discrimination in the workplace. Employers are also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled job applicants, workers, employees and former employees are not put at a substantial disadvantage by:

  • A provision, criterion or practice;
  • A physical feature of the premises; and
  • A failure to provide an auxiliary aid.  

Employers are however only required to make reasonable adjustments where they know or ought reasonably to have known about the person’s disability and where the disabled person is likely to be put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a person who is not disabled. It is therefore important to consult with the disabled person in relation to deciding what a reasonable adjustment is for them and ways to support them.

Employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks also have a statutory right to request flexible working and the right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to care for dependants if they meet the requirements.

If you require any further information or advice on disability discrimination, flexible working and time off for dependents, or any other Employment law matter, please contact the Chattertons Employment law team.

 

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