Home' HR Monthly : May 2016 Contents HEALTH & WELLBEING
to hire a person
Lower staff turnover rate
A person with a vision impairment
is more likely to show loyalty to
an employer, giving you a lower
turnover rate and a lower overall
cost of employment.
Due to the access challenges they
face every day, people with vision
impairment tend to be great
problem-solvers, flexible and
Less workplace incidents
People with a disability are far less
likely to have an accident at work
than their peers.
More days at work
People with a disability have lower
levels of absenteeism and use less
sick leave than their colleagues.
Diversity = good business
A more diverse workforce will
effectiveness. It will lift morale and
enhance productivity. In short,
diversity is good for business.
An untapped workforce
You are looking to recruit a new
employee for your business, but what if an
applicant is blind or vision impaired?
Understandably, you may initially question
how they can possibly do the job that you
advertised for – how would they read emails
or find their way to work?
You may also think, “What about
the extra costs and the changes
that I will have to make to my
To alleviate your concerns,
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has
developed a handy guide to
highlight the benefits of employing
someone who is blind or vision impaired,
and provide solutions to common concerns.
These job-seekers are loyal, great
problem-solvers and can provide an
inspiration to your workforce.
All they need is an opportunity!
To download our free Employers’ guide for hiring
people who are blind or vision impaired please
of an overweight forklift driver, a company may
not have the resources to buy or commission the
building of an ex tra-large forklift, if there is an
employee who does not fit in the existing model.
“That becomes a commercial decision, and is
often where the regulatory and moral challenges
crop up in a legal setting,” she says.
SAFETY V DISCRIMINATION
There is always the potential for conflict between
health and safety laws and anti-discrimination
legislation, says Aaron Goon rey, partner at
law firm Lander & Rogers and a specialist in
workplace relations and safety.
“Under health and safety legislation, an
employer has obligations to maintain a healthy
and safe work environment, and this underpins
everything,” he says. “But in the area of
discrimination, the law is intended to come to
the aid of those who are vulnerable. It’s a fine
Victoria is cu rrently the only state that prohibits
discrimination on the basis of physical attributes.
While this might offer a legal route to an obese
person, at the time of writing there are no relevant
cases pending before a court or tribunal.
“In other states, an obese person might argue
that obesity is in their DNA and so constitutes
a disability,” says Goonrey. While there are no
recent cases about obesity as a disability, in the
case of Cox v The P ublic Transport Corporation
(1992), it was held that obesity did not come
within the definitions of “impairment” in the
former Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (Vic).
Anti-discrimination legislation concerning
disability, though, can’t always trump health and
safety issues – we won’t be seeing blind delivery
drivers or frontline firefighters in wheelchairs.
“The law responds very slowly to changes in
society,” says Goonrey.
ONE MAN’S STORY: NEIL GREY
Neil Grey, 59, works part time as a delivery driver, based in Camden NSW.
He had previously worked as a sales rep in the auto industry, which he
describes as, “an unhealthy lifestyle, living out of a suitcase”. Combined
with a sports injury that prevented him from exercising during his time in
the job, Grey’s weight gradually increased from 130kg to 170kg.
In 2014, Grey’s employer put pressure on him to manage a branch
while they found a permanent replacement. By the time the firm found a
new manager, they had also found a new sales rep, and Grey was made
redundant. “I believe I was effectively forced out of the job because of my
Grey’s doctor had previously referred him to the program r un by Dr. Nic
Kormas, but at the time his work commitments prevented him attending
the program’s gym as required. The silver lining of redundancy was that it
allowed him to throw himself into the program.
“It’s been a lifesaver,” says Grey. “When I was assessed I was shocked at
how poor my health was, with fatty liver, severe gout, diabetes a nd high
cholesterol.” Grey was set targets for weight loss, met with a psychologist
and a dietician, and began a three-times-a -week program of exercise. The
result was a loss of 55kg over 18 months.
Gray started his new job in May 2015. “It’s a physical job, and I had to
pick it up and get on with it. The new firm has been very helpful, and the
activity is making me fitter.”
Looking back, Grey feels that his previous employer could have treated
him better, but accepts that theirs was a small business, and they too
“I was going over the cliff – but there comes a time when you have to
reassess things and make your health a priority.”
“WHEN I WAS ASSESSED I WAS SHOCKED
AT HOW POOR MY HEALTH WAS, WITH
FATTY LIVER, SEVERE GOUT, DIABETES
AND HIGH CHOLESTEROL.”
NEIL GREY, DELIVERY DRIVER
15/04/2016 3:42 pm
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