Neurodiversity & Employment Law

Don’t miss the possible opportunities of a more diverse workforce.

‘Neurodiversity’ as it relates to employment law encompasses those diagnosed with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and other neurological conditions.

These ‘spectrum’ conditions, with a wide range of characteristics, share some common features in terms of how people learn and process information.

ACAS conducted some thought-provoking research on the subject in 2016.

The research suggests that employers can benefit from embracing the different ways people with such neurological conditions learn and process information.

ACAS found that when employing a person with a neurological condition:

  • Underperformance is more likely to arise where managers are not aware of or sensitive to the condition.
  • When dealing with performance issues, there is a need to be conscious of the extent to which an employee needs guidance (or alternatively wishes input into the process themselves).
  • Clear communication is crucial and should focus on the individual’s strengths as well as areas of weakness.
  • A working environment in which employees are accepted and have the chance to emphasise their strengths is key.
  • Recruitment processes can be a potential barrier to neurodiversity and care should be taken to avoid discrimination.
  • Greater awareness can help. Employers should proactive provide information on neurodiversity both to those with neurological conditions as well as those without.
  • Placing too much emphasis on ‘all-round’ generic competencies can disadvantage staff with neurological conditions who may have highly specialised skills that could be benefit the business.

Bear in mind that neurological conditions are spectrum conditions and will vary, including how individuals cope with the associated characteristics of their condition over time. For example an autistic employee may need tasks tailored differently than an employee with ADHD and those accommodations may change over time.

The potential merits of a more neurodiverse workforce should not be overlooked.

Positive attributes include additional creativity, lateral thinking, opportunities for a ‘different perspective’, development of highly specialised skills and consistent accuracy in mastered tasks.

Should you have any questions feel free to reach out to our help line. DLP advisers are available to answer any questions you may have—24 hours a day—at 0330 400 4454.

Source: ACAS Study

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