14 January 2008
The Minister for Public Health (Shona Robison) confirmed that ME does come within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con):
To ask the Scottish Executive what is being done in public sector organisations to assist people with myalgic encephalopathy to remain in employment.
Shona Robison (Minister for Public Health):
Where an individual with Myalgic Encephalopathy is sufficiently impaired as to meet the definitions of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, a public sector employer would be required to meet their duties under the Act.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 introduced a public sector duty to promote equality for disabled people. This duty came into force in December 2006 and requires all public authorities to be proactive in tackling discrimination against disabled people and to look at ways of promoting equality for disabled people. Public authorities covered by the specific duties (which includes local authorities) must produce a disability equality scheme setting out the action they will take. All functions of the public body are covered by the duty, including their role as an employer.
The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives can provide advice to employers on measures that they can take to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act, through its website, telephone helpline and healthy working lives advisors.