Transitioning to adulthood and finding employment can be a trying time for anyone. For young adults living with a disability, it’s important to remember that there is support available.
When it comes to finding your first job, the first thing to do is familiarise yourself with your rights. There are a number of organisations which can provide guidance.
Know Your Rights
With around one in five Australians living with a disability, there are laws in place to protect individuals from discrimination. The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes discrimination unlawful and promotes equal rights and opportunity. Australia has also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008).
What Does This Mean for You?
It means there are standards and guidelines in place that companies must adhere to. This ensures that people living with a disability have equal opportunities to those living without.
If you do experience discrimination, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The AHRC is an independent statutory organisation reporting to the Attorney-General.
What Are Employers’ Responsibilities?
Employers must not discriminate as part of the recruitment and selection process. This applies to:
- Advertising and Interviewing
- Decisions on selection
- Terms and Conditions of Employment
- Promotion, transfer, training or other benefits
- Dismissal, demotion or retrenchment
There are exceptions to the Disability Discrimination Act where it is not against the law to refuse to employ a person with a disability if they cannot perform the requirements of the job. However, the Act also states that employers must consider how they can make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help them do so. This may include modifying equipment or work premises or providing training.
What’s the Best Way to Find a Job in Practice?
There are Disability Employment Services that cater specifically to people living with a disability in Australia. They will negotiate rates of pay and accessibility requirements, as well as flexibility you may need. A great place to start is Disability Employment Australia, which is the peak industry body that supports and resources the sector.
With the right information and supports, you can find your first job, gain independence and start the life you’ve always wanted.
Zest Care provides NDIS-funded support in finding and keeping a job. This enables participants to successfully obtain and retain employment in the open or supported workforce. There is also targeted help available for young adults in the form of School leaver employment supports (SLES). This may include setting up work experience, job site training, travel training or any other activity that contributes to finding and keeping a job.
Contact us today to see how we can help you.