“Disability matters – let’s stop ignoring it,” Marks and Spencer’s group head of inclusion and diversity said recently. This came after research showed that there are more clothing lines available for dogs than there are for disabled people. This suggests that there is more to be done in the retail sector for those who live, work and shop with a disability, whether visible or non-visible1.
Defining disability and a neurodiverse workforce and customer base
In the UK, a disability is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as a “physical or mental impairment” that has a “substantial” and “long-term” negative effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities. Among other rights, the Act imposes an obligation on employers to make “reasonable adjustments” to remove disadvantages experienced by job applicants and employees with disabilities. Such adjustments may include accommodations such as remote working, flexibility with hours and extra time to do tasks. Often, guidance is needed from medical professionals, such as occupational health practitioners or specialists, to support the employer in making these changes.