Skip to content

Western Trust: Blind Man Paid £3,000 In Discrimination Settlement

March 31, 2023

    A blind man will be paid £3,000 after he alleged a health trust failed to accommodate his needs when he tried to apply for a promotion.

    Stephen Campbell took a disability discrimination case against two organisations, including his employer the Western Health Trust.

    He claimed the job application process did not meet his needs as a blind man.

    The Western Health Trust and the HSC Business Services Organisation (BSO) did not accept liability.

    A spokesperson for the Western Trust said the organisation was committed to ensuring everyone has “equality of access” to its services.

    Mr Campbell, who worked in the trust’s ICT department, uses a screen reader to interact with laptops.

    When an opportunity for promotion arose within the trust, Mr Campbell wanted to apply.

    However, he found that the online process, on the Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI) website, could not be activated by his screen reader.

    He also could not find any information on where reasonable adjustments could be made so he could apply.

    ‘Frankly embarrassing’

    As part of the settlement terms, both organisations confirmed their commitment to ensuring they comply with their obligations under relevant equality laws.

    The BSO also said it would keep the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) updated on development of the HSCNI website.

    Mr Campbell said: “For two job applications, the Western Trust did accommodate me by stalling the recruitment exercise and reasonable adjustments were made to facilitate me.”

    He said he brought the case “to raise awareness of the issue and hopefully remove this barrier to accessing employment for disabled people in the health service here”.

    Mr Campbell further told BBC News NI that it was “frankly embarrassing” he had to take the case.

    “In this day and age, in public bodies and in the private sector, we shouldn’t have to encounter these issues. We should be able to apply for posts like our sighted counterparts,” he said.

    The Western Trust said it would work with the Equality Commission on policies around the recruitment process for blind people.

    The spokesperson added: “The trust’s HR department will always strive to support individuals who need assistance through a recruitment process, as we did on a number of occasions for Mr Campbell.”

    Eoin O’Neill, director of legal services at the Equality Commission, said the employment rate for disabled people in Northern Ireland at 36%, is the lowest in the UK.

    He said Mr Campbell’s case will benefit other disabled people in reminding organisations to ensure they are as accessible to disabled people as possible.

    No comments yet

    What are you thinking?

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: