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Learning Resource Pack – Disability and Employment (OMW Series)

Welcome to Be Ready Online Learning

Thank you for enrolling onto our online series on Disability and Employment. This course has been designed for Employers, Managers and HR colleagues as it covers the key aspects of recruiting, employing and retaining people with disabilities and/or long-term health conditions (including mental health).

The workshops are delivered by the Be Ready Employer Hub, which is a DWP and Devon County Council funded project. Our trainers have worked in the field of disability for over twenty years combined, and have used their experience to provide practical advice and tips on the key aspects of working with/for disabled people.

This learning resource pack provides:

  • an overview of the topics covered in the workshops
  • copies of the slides with space for you to make notes (sent separately as a Word document)
  • outline information about what to expect in the Learning Activities
  • background information on accessibility and additional needs

We will ask you to complete short online questionnaires at the start and end of the course. These should only take a few minutes to complete and they give us vital data on how your learning has developed through the series. If you have any difficulty accessing them online, we can send you a Word document version.

At the end of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

If you have any questions or concerns about the workshops, or require any specific support to participate online. Our contact details are at the end of this document or please use the Contact Form on our website.

Before You Start

These workshops are not webinars but interactive, live presentations with experienced trainers. The online sessions have been designed to make your learning experience as close to our face-to-face workshops as possible.

We always aim to facilitate our courses in a way that reassures you to feel confident you are in a safe space. For example, at the start of the first session, we introduce ourselves and ask delegates to do the same (eg say your name and tell us why you are doing these workshops). We let you know this in advance so that you can prepare if you normally find this hard to do “on the spot”.

We encourage you to share your thoughts, stories and questions (and no question is stupid!). As long as you are not offensive, do not need to worry about being politically correct all of the time. We use ‘Chatham House’ rules (ie no identifying information to be given when using examples, and what is discussed within the group is not shared outside the workshops). This ensures sensitive managerial or commercial situations and issues can be discussed openly.

We want you get the most out of the learning activities, discussions and questions posed – but in a way that is comfortable for you. We discuss various aspects of disability, which can be very emotive, but this is key to understanding our own and society’s unconscious bias.

For example, in the first workshop we examine Disability Discrimination, where some of the language used may feel upsetting. As part of the learning process, we will be deliberately using words and terminology that are considered offensive or non-PC (politically correct).

If you feel any aspect becomes too personal for you, let us know. You can use the chat function privately to ask for assistance (ie none of the other participants will see your actions) and we can take you out of the main session into a private breakout space for the time you need.

Additional Needs

We always aim to ensure the presentations, learning activities and materials used in our courses are as accessible as possible. For example,

  • Providing the course slides in advance with space for notes
  • Providing an overview of what to expect in the learning activities and relevant additional background information (see Appendix I and II in this document)
  • Using an Arial (non-serif) font in a minimum 14 size in documents
  • Using good colour contrast
  • Reading aloud case studies, scenarios and exercises in presentations
  • Providing narration or subtitles for any videos used
  • Where possible, keeping slide text to a minimum.

However, we recognise that we cannot anticipate the access needs of everyone. You will have been asked if you had any additional needs as part of your booking confirmation. You can contact us at any time if you have any specific requirements or concerns, and we will do our best to address these. For example, we can provide simplified copies (ie text only) of the slides, or provide guidance on the online tools available to enhance your viewing or sound.

We may record some sessions for the training team to review and feedback on their teaching. We will always notify you in advance if we intend to record so you can let us know if you do not wish to attend that session.

Course Overview

This course on Disability and Employment comprises four interlinked workshops (typically delivered a week apart), with an optional fifth workshop on Language and Communication. You are expected to attend every session in the same series as each workshop builds on the learning provided previously – if you miss any, we cannot provide a replacement.

Each workshop lasts two hours (but may over-run, depending on the amount of participant discussion) and short comfort breaks are included.

The dates and times of this series are included in the accompanying email, along with the meeting invite link to your first session. You can join up to 15 minutes before the start (you will be held in a virtual waiting room).

This Disability and Employment series covers the following topics:

  • Session 1: An Introduction to Disability Awareness in the Workplace, including Models of Disability, the Equality Act (2010) and Disability Discrimination.
  • Session 2: Reasonable Adjustments – what the Equality Act (2010) requires of employers in terms of reasonable adjustments with practical examples.
  • Session 3: Recruitment and Job Carving – how to provide/ enable an inclusive workplace and recruitment process, including ideas for Job Carving.
  • Session 4: Access to Work Grant – what it can be used for and how to apply and the Disability Confident Scheme – how to achieve the award to enhance your organisation’s reputation, plus a Course Review quiz.
  • Session 5 (optional): Language and Communication – how to overcome barriers and how to initiate more “comfortable” conversations with disabled colleagues and customers.

Feedback and Data

The Be Ready Employer Hub is able to deliver this training free of charge due to the funding we receive from Devon County Council (DCC), Learn Devon and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Our funding criteria require us to evaluate and report on all the delivery aspects of the project, including training. Therefore, we ask you to complete a (quick) online questionnaire to establish a baseline for your level of awareness of disability in the workplace. We will then ask you to repeat this questionnaire at the end of the course.

The questionnaire comprises a set of statements about how (or if) your level of understanding of Disability in the Workplace has changed during the series. The post-course questionnaire also includes questions asking your opinion about the support documents and facilitation of the workshops.

We also ask for your name and email, which we use only to match the two sets of answers. We use anonymous data for our reporting, so your personal information will be deleted once the answers have been matched.

Here are the links to the questionnaires, along with the timing of when they need to be completed:

We use Microsoft Forms for our online questionnaires. If you require a non-internet version, please contact us and we will get one sent to you as a Microsoft Word document.

What you need to do before Session One

To help remind you, here’s a list of what you need to do before you start Session 1:

  • Ensure you have all of the dates in your diary for all the workshops in this series – these are in the accompanying email, along with the meeting invite link for Session 1. Participants need to attend all sessions in the series as this is an incremental course (ie each session builds on the previous session’s learning).
  • We have provided slides for all the presentations as a separate Word document so you can review the relevant session slides and make notes as you need.
  • Ensure you also have open/available any additional files sent for learning activities (they will be attached to the email with the meeting link for the relevant workshop).

If you are new to using Zoom or Microsoft Teams, we can send you a document (PlatformInstructions.docx) which contains instructions on how to use these apps for desktops, laptops and tablets. Contact us for a copy or if you need any further information or assistance.

Be Ready Contact Information

If you need further information or have any specific questions about this course, you can contact the Be Ready training team via the following:


Appendix I Learning Activities

Our online workshops are as interactive as we can make them within the limits of digital communication. Therefore, to make the most of the limited time available within the sessions, the following sub-sections provide an overview of each learning activity in the series (NB: there are no learning activities in Session 4 as this workshop uses videos and general discussion to support the information provided).

Some of the learning activities may require additional background detail and information to help you participate. These are found in Appendix II.

Session 1 Learning Activities

Learning Activity 1 – Social Model versus Medical Model

You will be given four scenarios (read aloud by the trainer), each with a choice of two solutions. You will need to select the solution that best illustrates a Social Model approach.

Learning Activity 2 – Definition of Disability

This learning activity is about the Equality Act (2010) Definition of Disability. We have provided a PowerPoint slide (file attached Module 1_EqualityActLearning Activity) which you will need to have open (in ‘Normal’ view) and be able to share your screen in a breakout room. The session’s administrator will be online with you if any assistance is needed.

Learning Activity 3 – Types of Discrimination

This learning activity requires you to choose one of four possible answers for each of the three scenarios. We have also provided additional background information (in Appendix II) about the different types of disability discrimination which will help you with this exercise. 

Learning Activity 4 – Stereotyping

You will be given a series of short statements that will require a True or False answer.

Session 2 Learning Activities

Learning Activity 1 – Barriers

This learning activity is split into three exercises, covering each type of barrier that restricts choice for disabled people:

  • Environmental Barriers – You will be given a scene on the screen and will need to use the Annotate function to mark your answers.
  • Organisational Barriers – You will view a short video and then be asked to identify what the organisational barriers are.
  • Attitudinal Barriers – We would like you to discuss the steps or changes that an organisation can take to demonstrate a more inclusive culture. This is a good opportunity to share best practice about what you are doing in your own workplace.

Learning Activity 2 – Reasonable Adjustments

This learning activity requires you to review and provide solutions for what reasonable adjustments you would put in place for case studies provided in the session. You will be allocated one case study in the session to discuss with a small group in a breakout room. One member of the group will then be required to feedback your solutions to the main group.

Session 3 Learning Activities

Learning Activity 1 – Job Carving

In this exercise, you have a brief job description and a profile of a prospective candidate (below).

JW has applied for the job of Admin Assistant/Receptionist job you have advertised for Exmouth Community Hospital. At the interview, he has disclosed his Autistic Spectrum Condition and handed you a Profile (similar to a CV) showing his strengths and needs.

You were impressed with his interview and would like to offer him employment. Using the information from the Profile, we need you to job carve this role and/or make any reasonable adjustments so that JW could be part of the team.

Job Description

Job Details

Job Title:                     Admin Assistant / Receptionist

Band:                            2

Responsible To:           Hospital Administrator

Accountable To:           Hospital Business Manager

Department/Division:   Admin & Clerical / Community Hospital

Job Purpose

  • Provide a professional, efficient and effective reception and outpatient booking service to patients and visitors in accordance with Trust policies and standards; acting as the public face for the NHS Trust
  • Undertake general clerical duties
  • Ensure all information is secure and confidentiality of information is maintained at all times
  • Provide excellent customer care which may include communication with distressed and anxious patients and relatives, treating them with tact and empathy
  • Ensure the professional image of the Trust is maintained at all times


The post-holder will be required to maintain an efficient reception and administrative service for Exmouth Hospital.  This will involve:

  • Switchboard
  • Dealing with incoming calls for the hospital & various departments and dealing with queries
  • Stationery ordering/receipting
  • Maintain Room Booking Spreadsheet
  • Outpatient Admin – appointments/outcomes, prepping clinics, attending patients
  • Logging estates work/faults
  • Distribution of mail, incoming and outgoing

The post holder will be part of a Trust Administration team. This post may involve some evening/weekend working as required.  There will be no lone working.

Key Result Areas / Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

Administrative functions

  • Acknowledge and help all visitors/patients to the reception area promptly and professionally
  • Use multiple computer systems as required within the department such as PAS, NHS E-referrals, CRIS to maximise all available outpatient capacity in an appropriate way
  • Make and receive telephone calls both external and internal according to Trust standards
  • Provide assistance for onward transportation as requested
  • Ensure the reception area/department is kept clean, tidy and professional looking at all times
  • Ensure accurate and up-to-date patient details are maintained on patient information systems such as PAS in line with Trust Information Governance policy
  • Maintain health records and patient files in line with Trust Health Records Policy
  • Respond to complaints where appropriate, escalating to Line Manager if unable to resolve


  • Make and receive telephone calls both external and internal according to Trust standards
  • Take messages, ensuring they are actioned and/or received by the correct recipient
  • Communicate effectively including discussion and written communication
  • Proactively manage email communication in line with the RD&E’s Email Best Practice guidance
  • Provide excellent customer care, in a calm and professional manner – some situations may be challenging
  • Organise and/or support meetings through effective communication

Specific roles for Outpatient Reception

  • Ensure patients are recepted in line with Trust Standards
  • Check all patient notes are received from Health Records and are available for clinic
  • Ensure all patient documentation and patient details are prepped and accurately updated
  • Record ‘patient attendance’ on PAS on arrival at the clinic
  • Ensure clinic outcomes forms are completed and recorded in a timely manner
  • Ensure patient confidentiality is maintained at all times
  • Arrange follow up appointments or add patients to a follow-up pending list, as required, in accordance with clinician’s instructions and Trust policy
  • Ensure patient information is recorded accurately and promptly onto the appropriate system and any phone calls, emails are dealt with efficiently.
  • Monitor clinics daily to ensure full utilisation of appointment slots and escalate any issues to team leader or slot manager.
  • Actively monitor pending lists and action any Appointment Slot Issue requests
  • Ensure all patients are booked within waiting times and breach dates and escalate to resolve any future problems.
  • Cancel clinics and re-negotiate new appointments with patients by telephone where required, in an empathetic and helpful manner
  • Respond to patient and relative enquiries appropriately
  • Contribute to audits regarding departmental procedures
  • Ensure NHS E-Referral Service worklists are updated timely

Personal Profile

Name:        JW

Address:    Tiverton, Devon

Age:           20

Work Experience:

  • Environment Agency:  Scanning and copying delivery notes for use in court cases.  Accuracy and eye for detail of great importance.
  • Devon County Council: Administration Assistant – accurately inputting data, keeping records up date, using multiple ICT programmes, using Excel to manage information; liaising with other members of staff, attending meetings, typing up notes from meetings; completing and checking applications received and mailing requested information; receiving instructions via email.

Skills and Qualities:

  • Good literacy skills
  • Eye for details
  • Methodical tenacious worker
  • Confident with use of ICT
  • Polite
  • Excellent at following instructions and direction

 Additional Needs:

  • Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – tidy and clean
  • Retaining large amounts of information may be challenging
  • Dislikes spontaneous use of telephone


  • Clear instruction
  • Mentor
  • Instructions to be given in small chunks or written down
  • ASC familiarity training to staff

Learning Activity 2 – Recruitment Advert

Instructions for this Learning Activity will be provided in the session – below is a ‘vanilla’ version (easier to read) of the initial advert for use in the exercise.

Customer Assistant (11-20 hours)

£9.30 up to £10.50 per hour* (pro rata). Part time hours are between 10 – 30 hours. Full time hours are between 31 – 40 hours.

This isn’t stacking shelves. This is feeding families.

As a Customer Assistant at Lidl, no shift is the same and you get out what you put in. Starting at 5am some days to set up the store bakery for the day or finishing at 11pm on others to close the store and ensure the store is ready for another day of customers, you’ll keep moving and keep business booming.

Every day is different, so you won’t just be working deliveries or working on the till; you’ll be doing all of it and more. You could even train to be a freshness specialist, non-food specialist or a bakery specialist. It’s your hard graft that puts food onto dinner tables and keeps our customers coming back.

Our Customer Assistants work together as a team to ensure their store is clean, tidy and well-ordered so that customers can get the products they love and need. You’ll be part of a close-knit team who will soon become friends.  Shifts include the weekends, but whether you have family commitments, are studying or have an extraordinary hobby, we make sure our rotas are available 3 weeks in advance so you can get the most out of your days off.

This isn’t just a challenge, this is a challenge with great rewards – because at Lidl, you get out what you put in. If you love keeping busy and want to do a job that matters, find out more below and apply for a career a Lidl less ordinary.

As part of your application, you will be asked to complete three online exercises taking fewer than 20 minutes, designed to provide us with a more in-depth understanding of you and your potential as a member of our team. If everything goes well, someone from the recruitment team will get in touch to chat about your application over the phone and following this you may be invited to face to face interview. To find out more and even conduct a practice exercise, visit:

 What you’ll do:

  • Unpack stock as deliveries arrive in store
  • Providing excellent customer service on the tills
  • Help our customers with any questions or queries, and locate items around the store
  • Ensure the bakery stays topped up by baking fresh goods
  • Ensure shelves are looking good, checking for sell by dates, ensuring quality and freshness for our customers
  • Merchandising and maintaining our middles aisles of non-food products

What you’ll need:

  • Some experience of working in a fast-paced environment
  • The flexibility to start an early shift at 5am or finish a late shift at 11pm
  • The ability to react positively to changing priorities
  • The initiative to identify tasks that need to be completed
  • The drive to work hard and contribute to the success of your store
  • A friendly communication style with your team and customers
  • Experience in providing excellent customer service

What you’ll receive:

This isn’t getting by. This is getting what you deserve. Working at Lidl is rewarding, in every sense, because we give you the training to succeed in your role and plenty of opportunities to progress your career here. We’re proud to offer a competitive hourly rate from £9.30 up to £10.50 (*depending on experience and London weighting) with 30 days’ holiday per year (pro rata). Save for your future with our pension scheme or save today with a 10% in store discount, plus extra discounts on days out, cinema tickets and much more.

Please note your employment is conditional upon the Company’s receipt of satisfactory references and if requested by the Company, a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Disclaimer: due to the high volume of applications we receive, we reserve the right to close a vacancy earlier than the advertised date. This is to ensure our teams can manage application levels while maintaining a positive candidate experience. Once a vacancy has closed, we are unable to consider further applications, so please submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Session 5 Learning Activities

Learning Activity 1 – Language

You will be given a list of words for discussion with a group in a breakout room. You will need to sort the words according to whether you think the word or phrase is appropriate to use (Do), not appropriate (Don’t) or you are not sure.

Learning Activity 2 – Communication

You will watch a video and then be split into breakout rooms to discuss the different ways language and communication had an impact on the central character. In particular you will be looking for examples of inflection, sarcasm, body language and literal language.

An example scenario will be shown first to explain what is meant by these terms.

Appendix II Types of Disability Discrimination

Discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly for a range of reasons (called ‘protected characteristics’ in the Equality Act 2010), of which disability is one. Discrimination is one type of unfair treatment and, when based on any of these protected characteristics, is usually against the law.

We have split the following background information on disability discrimination into two sections:

  • Direct Discrimination, and
  • Indirect Discrimination

Our reference document for this information is the ACAS website and the July 2017 document ACAS Disability Discrimination: Key points for the workplace.

Direct Discrimination

There are three different types of direct discrimination where someone is treated less favourably than others because of:

  • their disability – this is ordinary direct discrimination
  • the disability of someone they are associated with, such as a friend, family member or colleague – this is direct discrimination by association
  • how they are perceived – that they are believed to have a disability. Regardless of whether this perception is correct or not, this would be direct discrimination by perception.

Direct discrimination in all its forms could, for example, involve a decision not to employ someone, to dismiss them, withhold promotion or training, offer poorer terms and conditions or deny contractual benefits because of disability. In almost all circumstances, it cannot be justified and would be unlawful.

Examples of the three types of Direct Discrimination:

Direct discrimination

A pub allows a family with a child who has cerebral palsy to drink in their beer garden but not in their family room. The family with the disabled child are not given the same choices that other families have.

Direct discrimination by association

Alana, an assistant manager at an IT company, asks for time off to care for her husband because his rheumatoid arthritis has flared up badly. Her employer agrees to the time off – some paid, some unpaid, but adds that her absence will cause difficulties in running the business. When her husband’s condition settles down, Alana returns to work and finds her fixed-term contract will not be renewed because the employer feels her role as a carer makes her unreliable in her job.

While there is no legal obligation for Alana’s employer to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ because Alana herself is not disabled, she must not be treated less favourably because of her caring responsibility. So, she lodges a grievance against the employer while still in her post. She claims she has suffered direct discrimination by association in not having her contract renewed because of her caring responsibilities for her disabled husband. Depending on the outcome of the grievance, she is also considering a claim to an employment tribunal.

Rather than complain to Alana about her absence, her employer could have looked for options to help overcome the difficulties while she was away. And on Alana’s return, her employer should have talked to her about its concerns to try and agree a way forward. Her employer should also have kept in mind that Alana may be entitled to ask for flexible working in any event.

Direct discrimination by perception

Raja is a lecturer at a college where some colleagues complain her behaviour can be very unpredictable. Rumours that she has a serious mental illness mount. She notices she is not invited to social gatherings or some college meetings, and neither has she been offered any training or career development opportunities for more than 18 months.

She has said sorry to colleagues for her outbursts, explaining she feels under pressure sometimes because of a private matter outside work. However, she suspects that her apologies have made no difference, and that the college is trying to ‘get her to leave’.

This is likely to be direct discrimination because she is perceived to have a mental health disability.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is where there is a rule, policy or practice which seems to apply equally to everyone, but which actually puts disabled people at an unfair disadvantage compared with people who aren’t disabled.

Examples of Indirect Discrimination

1) A local authority produces an information leaflet about its services for local people. It does not produce an easy-to-read version of the leaflet in order to save money. This would make it more difficult for someone with a learning disability to access the services and could amount to indirect discrimination.

2) Abdul is a sales assistant at a store where it is policy that sales assistants work the shop floor for a set number of hours a day to be available for customers. However, Abdul has Crohn’s disease and flareups can mean he spends less time on the shop floor. He asks his employer to allow him more time for toilet breaks on the days his Crohn’s disease flares up, and also to make allowances as it can make him very tired. The employer is sympathetic and makes ‘reasonable adjustments’ so Abdul can spend less time on the shop floor during flare-ups and a deputy sales manager will cover for him.

Had the employer insisted Abdul adhere to the policy on hours, this may have been indirect discrimination, unless it could justify the policy as ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. Sticking to the policy may also have been a failure to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

Sometimes, it is possible to justify the rule, policy or practice that puts disabled people at a disadvantage. For example, there could be a health and safety reason, or an unavoidable business reason. Where this is the case, it won’t count as discrimination.


Harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct’ and must be related to a relevant protected characteristic – in this case, disability. It must also have the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

This can include bullying, nicknames, threats, intrusive or inappropriate questions, excluding someone (ignoring, not inviting someone to meetings or events etc) or insults. It can be verbal, written or physical. Also, unwanted jokes and/or gossip which the employee finds offensive can be harassment, and to say they were ‘banter’ is no defence.

Example of Harassment

Bob works in a warehouse, but has been off with a mental health condition of anxiety linked to his disability – Asperger syndrome, where he struggles in mixing and communicating with people. On Bob’s return to work, a colleague hands him copies of emails left overnight on an office printer. The emails are between Bob’s manager and a senior manager – they are dismissive and derogatory about why he has been off work and his disability. They also say they should turn up the pressure on Bob so he makes up for the time he has been off.

This is likely to be harassment because of his disability. Bob could lodge a grievance against the two managers who might then be disciplined. If Bob is not satisfied with the outcome of his employer’s handling of the matter, he could decide to make an employment tribunal claim if within the time limit.

Also, it is possible for an employee to make a complaint of harassment where they are not on the receiving end of the conduct, but witness it and it has a negative impact on their dignity at work or the working environment. The employee making a complaint of harassment in this situation would not need to have the same disability as the colleague who is being harassed, or any disability.


Victimisation is when an employee suffers what the law terms a ‘detriment’ – something that causes damage, harm, or loss – because of:

  • making an allegation of discrimination, and/or
  • supporting a complaint of discrimination, and/or
  • giving evidence relating to a complaint about discrimination, and/or
  • raising a grievance concerning equality or discrimination, and/or
  • doing anything else for the purposes of (or in connection with) the Equality Act 2010.

Victimisation can also occur because an employee is suspected of doing one or more of these things, or because it is believed they may do so in the future.

A ‘detriment’, for example, might include being labelled a ‘troublemaker’, being left out and ignored, or being denied training.

An employee is protected under the Equality Act if they make, or support, an allegation of victimisation in good faith – even if the information or evidence they give proves to be inaccurate. However, an employee is not protected if they give, or support, information or evidence in bad faith – in other words, maliciously.


Jibin’s colleague has bipolar disorder. Jibin supports her colleague to complain to their employer about disability discrimination. After this, Jibin’s manager refuses her promotion on the basis that her loyalty to the company is in question.

Deb has an anxiety disorder. She complains to her local supermarket that she genuinely believes that she has been discriminated against by an assistant who made remarks about her condition in front of customers. After this, the manager says she should shop elsewhere.