Achieving Compliance - The Power of Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in Ireland

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 4 December 2019
Legal Island
Legal Island

We live in a diverse society and successful organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits it can bring.  Embracing and supporting diversity, including neurodiversity, can help organisations reach out to and attract staff from a wider talent pool, with new ways of thinking and problem solving emerging as a result. A diverse workforce is also better equipped to engage more effectively with a diverse customer base seeking solutions.

Organisations that fail to embrace diversity within inclusive workplaces risk litigation, reputational damage and finding themselves unable to attract and retain the kinds of customers, employees, and business partners that will flourish in our changing world of work in Ireland the next 5 to 10 years.  

This webinar presents the opportunity to discuss ideas to attract, support and retain a diverse workforce. We’ll look at examples of organisations which are successfully making diversity - and neurodiversity in particular - work for them to deliver tangible business benefits. 

Speakers: Ciara Ruane, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons and Louise McQuillan, Workplace Solutions Manager, Texthelp

 

Transcript

Scott: Good afternoon, everyone. This is Scott Alexander. I'm from Legal Island. Thank you very much for joining our webinar, which we're doing today in association with Pinsent Masons and Texthelp. And I'm joined by Louise McQuillan from Texthelp, and Ciara Ruane from Pinsent in Dublin. We're going to be looking at neurodiversity and all that type stuff, diversity and inclusion.

And you can see if you have a look at your desktop there that there's a little chat box, a little question box. If you have any questions as we go along, send them in. They'll all be anonymous, and we'll ask those questions as we go along. But in the meantime, if you want to listen, you may. We'll be recording this, and you'll be able to listen back. It should be later this afternoon, but certainly tomorrow we'll have a transcript up on the website as well within a week or two.

Poll Questions

So, let's start off with Louise. Louise, you're from Texthelp. Oh, yes, we're going do the poll, sorry. I'm just getting tapped here by my colleague. I forgot do the poll. Let's do the poll on my sheet first. So we have some questions coming up. The first question that we have, does your organisation have any neurodivergent employees, for example, those labelled, for example, with dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc., etc. Fifty percent yes, 50% no. It's 67%. So, two-thirds are saying, yes, you do.

Let's look at question two. Question two is, if yes, which is two-thirds of you, what if any, types of reasonable adjustments or accommodations have you made to facilitate neurodiversity in your workplace? Click any that apply. Education training, introduced neurodiverse champions in the workplace, provided to staff with tools to their job or other. Most of the time what we're looking at there is providing tools and education and adjusted recruitment/selection/staff development practices.

Okay. Second last question, have you engaged any third-party assistance to help make reasonable accommodations to support neurodiversity? Eighty percent have said no, so you do it on your own.

Okay. And the final question before we go back to where I was. Has your organisation had any discrimination claims arising under the quality of legislation relating to the issue of neurodiversity? And you're all saying no. Well, that's good in some ways that you're actually taking the action, it seems to me. You have made those adjustments and you're going to find out a lot more if as we continue.

So, let's get back to the first question that we have. Remember folks, you can ask your own questions as we go along. So, all of you seem to have a neurodiverse workforce. So, if you have any questions send them in.

What is meant by the term Neurodiversity?

So, Louise, could you maybe outline for the benefit of our listeners what the concept of neurodivergence means?

Louise: Yes. So just to give a broad definition of neurodiversity, it really means the range of differences in an individual's brain function, particularly behavioural traits that individuals may have. And so that can really range from well again neurodiversity as a broad term for a range of conditions. And if you break that down, we're looking at dyslexia, ADHD, autism, cognitive processing disorders and many cases acquired neurodiversity, which can be something that you're not necessarily born with. But throughout the duration of your life, a condition has changed. It may be brain injury or other conditions that have caused you just to think slightly differently.

And I think if we look at these often there's a stigma attached to a lot of these conditions. People look at them quite negatively, but from an organisation point of view, there's a lot of particular skill sets that individuals with these condition conditions have. If we look at the population, there's around 15% of the population have a neurodiverse condition, whether that is a condition they're aware of, but they already have those neurodiverse traits.

And certainly dyslexia, I think it's one of the big ones that everybody would associate with neurodiversity. And there's around 10% of the population has dyslexia. But again, we know that's probably going to be much, much higher because dyslexia is often one of the most undiagnosed conditions. You go through school; you develop your own coping mechanisms and can sometimes go under the radar and it's not often until later life that you're actually diagnosed with dyslexia. Again, the likes of ADHD and autism, these particular traits are around high energy, creative thinkers which for organisations are really, really vital to have.

And even some cases, just literacy rates. We know, one in six adults in Ireland have difficulty with their reading, and that's statistics from NALA. So, again, if you're an auditory learner, you will struggle with reading information. So again, it's just a way that your brain is working differently than you do better with audio information rather than written information. But for an employer who may be looking at literacy rates, if you haven't got those attainments or qualifications, that can be seen as a negative, but actually, there could be a number of benefits that you as an individual will bring to an organisation with these conditions.

What are an employer’s legal obligations towards neurodiverse employees/applicants?

Scott: Okay. That was Louise McQuillan from Texthelp. Thanks very much. Ciara Ruane, you're from Pinsent and Pinsent Masons in Ireland. Legally though, if you're looking at the situation, what are the legal obligations in relation to disability, and particularly when you're looking at neurodiverse individuals?

Ciara: So, when it comes to neurodiverse individuals, this can often be considered as a disability under the legislation in Ireland. So, the specific legislation we look at is the employment Equality Act 1998 to 2015 and it has a particularly broad definition when it comes to disability. So, the definition of disability includes conditions which affects a person's thought process, perception of reality, emotions or judgment, or which results in a disturbed behaviour. It also includes conditions which result in a person learning different differently from a person without that condition. So, lots of the conditions that Louise talked about there, dyslexia and ADHD would come within the ambush of that definition of disability.

Scott: And within that definition, there's no real-time limit there either. So, you could have had some kind of temporary thing or something that came on later in life that you were chatting about. And that would be covered by the legislation in Ireland.

Ciara: That's exactly correct. So, Louise mentioned there might be something that's acquired later and that would be covered. So unlike other jurisdictions in Ireland, there's no time limit within that definition.

Scott: Okay. And specifically, what about these obligations in relation to reasonable accommodation?

Ciara: So you might be asking why we looked at this definition of disability and it's really important in the context of the employment equality legislation because if an individual is considered to have a disability, there's an obligation on the employer to make sure that that person is provided with appropriate measures so that they have access to employment, that they can participate in employment, and that they can undergo training in relation to the employment.

What reasonable adjustments can employers make for neurodiverse employees?

So, you might ask what are appropriate measures in this context? Well, first of all, there's a definition in relation to appropriate measures that can mean adapting to the workplace, either physically or in relation to technology. So, there's a number of practical areas that reasonable accommodation could be looked at from an employer's perspective when it comes to neurodiverse employees.

One could be making physical adaptation space, providing software for . . . Texthelp can talk a little bit later about that but there's speech to text and other software programs in place that might be able to help. Often neurodiverse employees as well might find it difficult coming into work in the morning if it's particularly rush hours, around 8:00, 9:00, so employers should consider whether they could facilitate early or late start times and be flexible in relation to the policy around that as well.

Scott: Just to clarify, you've mentioned a couple of things and changing your start times cost nothing, bringing some software may cost a few euros, but it's not going to be that expensive when it comes to an individual employee. But there was a case obviously, I'm sure most of the listeners will know on Nano Nagle and Daly which is to go back to the Labour Court, but it's been to the Supreme Court.

So how you make that fit in when it comes to this? What's the obligations around Nano Nagle then for employers in relation to neurodiversity in particular?

Ciara: Yes, I suppose there's two things that have come out of that decision that are particularly relevant in this instance. That case looked at what is reasonable accommodation, what efforts the employer has to take on board and as part of that is concerned in SNA teacher who unfortunately was in an accident and was paralysed from the waist down. She was looking to return to work and there was a risk assessment conducted in relation to what duty she could undertake. And the risk assessment concluded that she could do seven duties with reasonable accommodation and she couldn't do nine even with reasonable accommodation. The company didn't consider whether or not they could redistribute some of those duties to enable her to return to work.

So, in this instance, it's really what does that mean in neurodiverse? It means that if a person couldn't do certain duties because of their condition, the employer is obliged to consider what reasonable accommodation they can provide to enable the person to do those duties. And that may even include looking at redistributing some of those duties or taking some of them away. So that's the first thing that they looked at in relation to this area.

The second thing, and you mentioned there was cost. It's really important as well as the legislation provide that there's an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation, unless that causes a disproportionate burden on the employer. But when the WRC looks at what is a disproportionate burden, they look at the financial costs, the scale and financial resources of the employer, and the possibility of obtaining public funding or assistance.

And then that Nano Nagle case, the school contacted a third body to see whether or not they could get funding to enable SNA to return to work, whether there was any funding there. And they were told there was no funding. Now, when the Supreme Court looked into that and to see whether or not there was kind of any financial cost or detriment into it, they felt it wasn't enough that the school just rang that agent. They should have taken more proactive steps, sent out a letter and seeing was there anything else was done. So it's important to bear in mind whether or not there is a detriment.

Scott: So the actual, the requirement when it comes to disability, we'll come back to whether it's actually a disability in a moment but the disability that we're talking about the neurodiversity, that's a positive requirement that employers have to look into those things. And the only thing that would stop an employer having to take the action of reasonable adjustments or reasonable accommodations would be as disproportion.

Ciara: That's actually correct.

Scott: Most of the things we were chatting about and going to chat about were not disproportionate and they wouldn't be seen. So, question, looking at the financial costs and the resources of the employer, even for small employers, the change in the areas of work is unlikely to be disproportionate.

Ciara: That's exactly correct. That would be my view in relation to it as well that there's money adjustments that can be made that cause little or no cost to the company. So, it's really just about changing mindsets in relation to these things.

Scott: Okay. Well, let's explore that a little bit more Louise. You work for Texthelp, and I know that you've done an awful lot of work in schools in the past helping students that have dyslexia or some neurodiverse condition that operates in there. So, and those have been expanded into the workplace.

 

How can an Employer create a more inclusive work environment for neurodiverse individuals?

 

Louise: Yes, pretty much. So, as you mentioned, we started as an ad tech company. So, we were supporting students throughout their educational journey. Education is obviously a very encouraging and supportive environment where students are getting the support that they need. However, sometimes when you go into the workplace, that environment changes. It becomes competitive and there's often stigma attached to certain conditions, and people often feel they don't want to share with employers because it is seen as a negative impact. So really what we're trying to do now is work with organisations. And Ciara mentioned that like the small changes that can happen is really changing the culture of organisations to make them more inclusive.

 

So right from their recruitment, onboarding process inclusivity is part of that asking if people need accommodations in the workplace before they've even sat down at their desk. So, making their environment ready for them from the from the day and hour that they begin working. And also, even creating that inclusion piece within the company and getting different teams involved. So not just deciding at the senior management level or an HR level, actually getting different people involved from different teams.

 

We always hear that disability services are often created by two or three people in an office somewhere. If you're not creating those resources, creating those environments with people with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions at that organisation and sort of implementation point, you know, you're not getting that overall variance and difference that people will need, you know, with different ideas, new ideas. If you always do what you've always done, and it's not working, sometimes you have to look outside and change that. So that's ultimately the big things that we hear is that change piece.

 

Scott: When you say you've taken a student from school and they go into the workplace, do they have a badge that they come along saying, "I've got Texthelp on my side"? How does it work?

 

Louise: No. I mean, when they leave education, it's very much up to them. There are support services available. You can take license with you, but obviously, with a lot of the work that we do, it's schools that purchase the license and provide that for the students. So the student doesn't actually own that initial support, but they do have the option to do that as well.

 

And so again, it's really then up to the organisation and the employee to have that discussion to say, this is the accommodation that I need to do my job. But again, there is still that as I mentioned, that's the stigma where people often don't want to share the disclosure piece of, "Well, if I share with HR, will they tell my line manager? Will my line manager tell other people? Will people judge me if I'm using a screen masking tool because the rooms may be too bright for me? Will they judge me if they see that I'm using a proofreader because my literacy isn't maybe as great as I want it to be?" So, it's that initial kind of education piece that needs to happen across organisations.

 

Scott: Okay. We will come back to that, but you mentioned the screen assistance other things that seem to be fairly simple. So maybe explain one or two things why is it you need a screen to be darkened or a screen brightened or whatever the situation.

 

Louise: Well, I mean, if you're sitting in typically bright office, I know certainly for us, we've got a lovely new floor in a building, and they've designed it and it's bright, it's colourful, there's lots of colours, really bright lights. But if you're sitting looking at a computer screen all day above a really bright light, that screen may be quite hard then for you to actually watch all day. And so, we offer a tool called Read&Write, and with our tool, there's a range of features on that. So, it's not just designed for dyslexia, autism, ADHD, there's a range of features that people can use depending on what support they need because we don't assume that anybody has one right fit of support.

 

I think that's the big thing organisations can sometimes struggle with. They find a piece of support that works for one person and roll it out to maybe 10 other people that's maybe not the right support. And so, what we can offer is flexible support that people can use, tools that work for them. So, if you're sitting, as I said, at the screen, it's quite bright, you can use the screen tint and change the colour. So, depending what colour is softer for you, easier for you to process and then at the end of the day you can turn that feature off. Use it at the start of the day. If it's light outside or it's dark outside, you can turn that feature off. And again, that's along the acquired piece as well.

 

Scott: Will that assist neurodiverse individuals?

 

Louise: Yes, it would. If you have any processing addition cognitive load, if there's a lot of information on your screen, sometimes a colour screen tint can block out some distractions on the page. And again, there's many, many different features that you can use to tailor that as well. So, you can have text read aloud. So again, it's helping you focus on text as it's being read. So again, if you're an auditory learner, that helps you understand and helps you retain that information easier than trying to read a document three or four times and not taking it in at all as well.

 

Scott: But that's not the most efficient use of time to read it three or four times and not take it in.

 

Louise: 100%.

 

Should an Employer have a have an Organisational Strategy towards Neurodiversity?

 

Scott: So those little tweaks help somebody with a neurodiverse condition learn.

 

Ciara, there are a number of physical things and software options that Louise has been chatting about. But I know that Pinsent Masons also have Brook Graham as part of their team as well, and they are a specialist diversity and inclusion consultant company. Can you maybe give the listeners a few examples of what they could do maybe from a policy point of view or the kind of things that they might do that might help them? Not doing an ad for Brook Graham there, but there are certain practical things that people can get assistance with to help in this area.

 

Ciara: And definitely and I think that's the one to always look at, there's so many resources out there to get assistance in relation to it. And as Louise said, it's not that one size fits all, so it can help to get an outside perspective sometimes. So, what Brook Graham help companies do is really to implement a diverse and inclusive policy. And in particular, because one size does not fit all, they will sit down with you, they'll go through and understanding of your business, the cultures and what goals you want. And then after that, they'll put a strategy plan in place to approve those goals.

 

So that will include sitting down with members of management, implementing policies, looking at communications. And as Louse said, it's not just looking at it from a management point of view, it's also getting all employees involved. So, the important, as well as part of that Brook Graham can provide training to employees and have workshops in relation to different conditions, the impact for that on the workplace, and just making this more inclusive.

 

The one thing we have noticed while we're working with Brook Graham, it's not a straight path always. There can be bumps along the way. So, it's just prepared for that. We had one instance where companies they had a policy in place when it came to neurodiversity. They had champions and they had workshops and trainings consistently in relation to it. But one day there was a deadline missed, and tempers were frayed and there were two employees who had a bust-up and one of these employees had autism. After that bust-up, they just felt vulnerable in relation to it.

 

So, what we advise is recruitment back in, they just reaffirmed their position in relation to diversity, had training, had workshops, and really reaffirmed the language to use in these situations. So, it's to understand to be proactive around these things as well. When something happens not to avoid the conversation, but to have that conversation so that matters can be resolved.

 

The other thing Brook Graham can do as well as because something you mentioned as well is that recruitment. I suppose we often employment context, focus on the day to day but companies often don't realise that the recruitment stage, they may have practices and procedures in place that may inhibit people, and a neurodiverse employee from making an application. For example, often we have some clients who would have an online application that might not necessarily be user-friendly if you're neurodiverse. So, as a result, they will look at these systems and kind of give an indication whether or not it's feasible for all people to ensure that you're attracting all the talents and all the right talent.

 

Scott: So, mentioned there, Ciara, that the inclusion piece and such. I think one of the difficult things we were chatting before the broadcast just about the language is you can change an awful lot. And I'm old. You can call me old; I don't mind. So, languages change. When I was at school in the '60s, nobody was diagnosed with dyslexia, nobody was diagnosed with Asperger's or autism. And some of those terms are never used. It was just, it seems to be a lot more recent there's been caught on. But even the language is difficult to get in there because you're scared to use the wrong words.

 

And how do you get around that unless you've got the kind of openness but then you're balancing that up with an individual who might not want to be open because they're not in a safe space. That can be difficult. You want to chat that a little bit just about the language and you get to be more inclusive, including old guys like me that don't have the right language.

 

Should neurodiverse individuals disclose this to employers or potential employers?

 

Louise: Yeah, and I think that's one of the challenges people face is that they want to be inclusive but as you say, how do they ask somebody what challenges they have? They may not want to talk about the challenges. So, it's getting that wording, I think, right, really from the start. But I think the really important thing is just having the conversation, not to step back because you're scared of offending somebody, but actually have a conversation with an individual and say, you know, what condition that you have or where do you want to be referred to and even say, open up that conversation I'm really looking at are the words are you too formal sometimes?

 

At that, I want you to disclose your disability but actually, could you say something like, I want you to share your condition. That softer kind of tone kind of gives that environment that okay, this is a safe, secure environment, I can share information and even asking the question, do you want me to share this with your line manager? If they don't, then that's fine. Your obligation is on the employer then to sort of . . .

 

Scott: Could you explain the benefits because I think one of the issues we're chatting earlier because I mean, Legal Island there's three people I know that have got fairly severe disabilities, but everybody knows about them. They've disclosed them, they are out in the open and you can make allowances if you like for somebody who is in severe pain one day or whatever it happens to be but you don't get the benefits as an individual if you don't disclose as it's called if you don't share that information. Would you go into that as a manager?

 

Louise: Yeah. I mean, I think it's always good to get as much information as you can. It's better to have too much information than not enough. I mean, there's one case in particular where we worked with recently it's actually South Yorkshire Police in England. They had a police constable who had started out in the place 30 years ago but usually, that wasn't a topic that was talked about whether it was the dyslexia, illiteracy, you know, it was you started your job and you just kind of got on with it.

 

And as his career has progressed, he's now at a senior level position but all of a sudden, he was having to write board reports, information to the press, and you know, various other stakeholders that he was having to provide information to. And there's a certain way that you have to write and present that information. But all of a sudden, he realised he was struggling, that he couldn't present that information the way that everybody else was around him.

 

And so, he spoke with his HR, his equality and diversity team. Got an assessment and realised after, you know, maybe 50 years of the in fact 50 years of his life, that he was dyslexic, but at no point throughout any of his education, his work career was that ever picked up. It was only at that point when his workload had increased, and he felt the pressure all of a sudden coming on him.

 

Now, for a lot of people, they may never have actually asked for the help, but they will feel that pressure building on them. It can affect their confidence and actually, then their ability and the productivity of their work. But he obviously felt an environment where he could speak to his colleagues and get the support he needed. So again, it goes back to, again, creating that inclusive culture.

 

Scott: What helped this individual then improve their language skills or written language skills?

 

Louise: At that point, we then provided our Read&Write software, because what he could do was proofing his work. So, it would read back to you in the way that he had written the work. So, if there were spelling errors, he could hear that that wasn't reading correctly. So, he could go back and make changes.

 

Scott: And that's because he couldn't see them on the written page.

 

Louise: To him, everything was written correctly. I'm sure we all read information sometimes as we speak, which we all know probably isn't grammatically correct all the time because you do your reading in your own voice. Whereas before he would have maybe had to hand that piece of work to somebody else to read. So by using assistive technology tool, in this case of our Read&Write software, he saved somebody else's time because they weren't having to read the information for him, and also give him the confidence that he was assessing his own work and developing the work that he could then share out with confidence as well.

 

Scott: He is more likely to recognise the little ticks and things that are wrong as well. So, it would be fewer going forward, isn't it?

 

Louise: And it's a learning opportunity then because he may have been making this mistake for years, but it was never really heightened because it wasn't a public piece of information that he was having to create. Whereas now he can learn, and he knows that that's a particular word that he always spelled incorrectly and he learned now correctly and at the age of 50, he's still learning.

 

I think that's one of the big things is just because you're in the workplace doesn't mean that you're stopping learning or stopping, you know, trying new things. So, there's so many different support pieces out there dependent on what you're doing. I think Ciara talked about this as well.

 

There's no one size fits all. What works for one may work for many others, but it's about creating that support piece that supports an individual. And, you know, we talked about, obviously, from the legal point of view and creating policies and I think it's important not to just create policies for policy sake. Having them flexible that you can make changes depending on individuals that it's not just here one piece of software that we can offer, one piece of desk equipment that we can offer and that's all we can do duly tailored to the individual.

 

Scott: Any other comments on that part, Ciara?

 

Louise: No, I think that's true. From the reasonable accommodation, I think we talked about the legal as she said when it comes to legal accommodation, making sure that if somebody has a disability ensure you provide reasonable accommodation relation to them. And from the legal point of view that will often involve having a medical report to outline what the condition is and what support can be provided. But from a practical perspective, I think it's really important to talk to the individual as Louise was saying as well, because they are best placed to let you know how they feel in the workplace and what change needs to be made.

 

What first steps can an employer make?

 

Scott: Okay. Finally, I suppose, let's start with Louise, for somebody starting in this place, where should they start? What should they kick the thing off if they're trying to even develop the policies or get involved in this area of neurodiversity and D&I in the first place? From your perspective.

 

Louise: I think there's so many resources out there that are available. So many organisations are creating resources that they can be at a point of contact for that. So, if anybody is interested, I'll be happy to share some of those after the webinar today. But even looking internally, getting different people involved, getting people with neurodiverse conditions involved. If you don't know who those people are, you know, you can try and get a small group together, see what you can do, make small changes whether it's creating those network groups. So, whether you have disability network groups, whether it's workplace accommodation groups, you know, just to try and start the ball rolling, because what you'll find is that they will grow and progress over time.

 

I know particularly with diversity and inclusion being such a kind of big topic at the moment, there's organisations out there here shouting from the rooftops about their diversity and inclusion policies and procedures and activity they are doing. Even have a look there, see what they're trying to do.

 

I mean, again, not every policy that every organisation is doing will work for everyone, but you can take ideas and learn. And again, just starting that conversation with the whole organisation, not just making this a process that's as we were saying, you're going to sit in your HR office, and it'll only come out when there's an issue or somebody, you know, needs clarification on something. Getting people involved in the conversation and really driving that conversation forward I think it is the big thing.

 

Scott: Okay. Ciara?

 

Ciara: Yeah, I suppose the first things from the legal point of view that the main thing is to look at reasonable accommodation and see what supports are there but from our point of view, I think that's the minimum that should be done. It is all about, as Louise said, creating a diverse and inclusive environment because often people are afraid to talk about these things. So how can an employer help support unless there's that safe place that they can raise the awareness about this.

 

So, I think that's very important. I suppose how do you do that? There is an approach we often adopt here in Pinsent Masons and it's the lead approach is the way we talk about it. So L is learn. So learn by all the conditions and as Louise highlighted, there's so many third parties out there that can provide so much useful information and learn from other businesses and organisations because in order to be truly diverse and inclusive, we are going to all need to share ideas and relation to it.

 

The next thing is engage and appreciate that you aren't alone in relation to this. There is funding out there that you can get from third parties as well and different organisations that will come in and support.

 

As Louise highlighted next is really adapt and adaptive changes are to be made, make them support employees. And as what Louise said is key. Often, we're all guilty of having a policy in the drawer and not looking at it and it's gathering dust. This area is ever evolving, language is changing. There are always different things that can be done. So, it's making sure that all those policies are adapted and up to date.

 

And then D is for develop. So, develop this from the top down and to get employees involved at all levels. And the way we do that practically at Pinsent Masons is we have champions for different areas. And we also have allies to support people. And we even have little activities like tea and chats, and we create that from a mental health point of view and mental health awareness. So, it's a safe place. We all sit down and have tea and chat for half an hour, once a month, and it just creates a safe place to work. So, it's really getting people involved in these things.

 

Scott: Yes, I suppose if you look at it from an employee point of view, I mentioned that I'm kind of old, but as you get older your eyes get worse and your viewing gets worse and nothing much gets better honestly. But you're chatting with some of the you know, the screen darkening things. They can help somebody with an eye issue without it being any kind of stigma type of stuff. And being that kind of open, inclusive organisation means that as we get older, as things happen, as things develop, then we're much more open and just say it's just life. Let's get on with it.

 

Ciara: Totally. And I think that's one of the things so in an organisation. If your situation has changed over the years, if knowing there is support available there without having to go and speak to your HR team or your managers. Again, these can come on a daily basis, they can come on a weekly, monthly depending on you know, migraines can affect people in different ways. And so, there's a lot of acquired conditions that can change in a month.

 

And I think just offering that flexibility. And as I said, there's so many organisations I had screaming about their equality and diversity policies. And I think for organisations if you're not doing things for your employees, your employees will start to look elsewhere because there's so many different avenues they can go down. It's almost the dream position for employer, because there's so many organisations offering so many of these things so you really need to be doing them to keep up with the demand.

 

And particularly, you know, if we look at Ireland, you know, the tech boom is huge and, you know, they are crying out for talented, skilled individuals so they kind of have their pick of organisations where to go, so anything as an organisation that you can do to support your staff a little bit further, a little bit better and make life easier for them, you know, is only going to benefit the organisation in the long run.

 

Scott: Ensure that you're inclusive and diverse. I know that Pinsent Masons, you win lots of awards for that kind of area, but I mean, it does mean that people will look and say I'd rather work there because it's inclusive.

 

Ciara: And I think employers often think, this doesn't affect me. There's nobody in my workplace who has neurodiverse conditions. But I suppose as you said, there's often the work profile that may not have been diagnosed, may not want to speak about it or even looking at the stats that Louise was talking about earlier, or the stuff that we got from the poll. The reality is that the workplace probably is affected by different conditions. So, recruitment, making sure you get the right talent or from day to day making sure that your employees feel safe in work and are productive. These are all things that are the reality of the situation and that need to be addressed. So, it's better to be prepared, have your policies in place, have your strategy and create your diverse and inclusive workplace.

 

Scott: Okay, thank you very much. Talking about quiet, there were no questions on the chat box there. So, you're very quiet bunch today. And just let you know, there are a few things coming up. We have at Legal Island, Northern Ireland there, there's a gala on the third of April, down in Dublin on the 19th of May we have an event, a practical event on D&I that we're doing in conjunction with Pinsent Masons. So, there'll be details and coming up. But of course, in learning Texthelp, you've loads of stuff coming up. And what we'll do is we'll pass on details to listeners and I'm sure that they'll be many things coming out from Pinsent Masons, and Brook Graham over the next few months, and we'll share those with everybody. So, for now, unless there's . . . Oh, here are the questions coming. Now you're coming through.

 

That was fantastic. Thank you very much who wrote that one in. You'll remain anonymous. Thank you very much. So, we're just right the end of the thanks very much. If you do have any further questions, send them in, and we'll pass them on.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Louise: Thank you.

 

Ciara:  Thank you, bye.

Training Resources

Did you know we offer an eLearning Diversity & Inclusion in the Irish Workplace course which is tailored specifically to Irish law and provides comprehensive compliance training for all employees ensuring they are aware of their roles and responsibilities in promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone.

  

This article is correct at 04/12/2019
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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Legal Island

The main content of this article was provided by Legal Island. Contact telephone number is 028 9446 3888 / 01 401 3874 or email hub@legal-island.com

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