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Autism Acceptance Week 2023 – The Equality Act of 2010

by Lucy Hilary

Today I want to talk about the Equality Act of 2010.

Autism is classed as a disability. Personally for me there are moments where I am literally disabled by my autism. I can become so stressed I can’t speak. Literally can’t speak or get my words out in a coherent way to be understood. My executive function suffers. When my executive function is impaired I really struggle with organisation and time management which is why I create routines and structure so when I am tired or struggling I can still get by in work and life because I have created a routine that is second nature to me. My working memory can also be affected so something I do daily I may suddenly just forget how to do it. Because of this, my ability to do tasks is affected as I may not be able to focus fully so will put a task off or it may take longer as I procrastinate.

My sensory profile is that I struggle with some lighting, noise is a really big problem for me especially inconsistent noises such as tapping, typing, clicking, eating, babies crying and cutlery against dishes to name a few. I also struggle with textures of certain clothes and how clothes fit. Labels cause me severe discomfort and I don’t like wearing lanyards because they are too light. I can’t process unexpected change that I have not planned for or been forewarned about. This causes me extreme stress that will often lead to autistic meltdown or shutdown.

This is just a brief overview of how being autistic creates many potential challenges and barriers for me in life and also in employment terms. It could also be why of all the neurodiverse conditions, Autism has the highest unemployment rate with only 1 in 6 diagnosed autistic being employed in some capacity.

As I am classed medically as a person with a disability, I am protected by the Equality Act of 2010.

“The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.”

To comply with the equality act employers must make reasonable adjustments when needed.

Reasonable adjustments are changes an employer makes to remove or reduce a disadvantage related to someone’s disability. For example:

  • making changes to the workplace
  • changing someone’s working arrangements
  • finding a different way to do something
  • providing equipment, services or support

Reasonable adjustments are specific to an individual person. They can cover any area of work.

It is important to note here that some disabled people might not need or want adjustments, although this might change over time.

Read more about reasonable adjustments

About the author

Picture of Lucy Hilary

Lucy Hilary

Researcher at Barbour ABI

Lucy has worked at Barbour ABI as a Telephone researcher for 18 months. Prior to this role Lucy worked in Telecommunications on the operational and connective side for a total of 10 years.

Lucy's move into construction came because she has a degree in Geography and she had hit the ceiling in communications. There wasn’t much more for her to learn so Lucy decided on a career more aligned with her passions.

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