Applicant tries to take advantage of 2010 Equality Act
The 2010 Equality Act is there to protect people suffering with disabilities from discrimination and employers must make reasonable adjustments for job applicants who are disabled. The majority of respectable businesses know this legal requirement inside-out, but what happens when someone tries to take advantage of the act?
An investigation by Police Scotland is looking into this very matter due to the repeated actions of a disabled candidate, The Times reports, and it serves as a lesson to recruiters who are unaware of what is mandatory and optional for them when it comes to inclusion and their candidate.
Gerald Freedman – a former Board member at Edinburgh-based housing association Blackwood Group with character references from Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, and the Law Society of Scotland – says he suffers from chronic back pain, swollen joints, anxiety and panic attacks amongst others.
He has had over 100 job interviews with charities, housing associations and universities over the past ten years; with numerous charities saying he threatened to take them to court if they did not adhere to his requests. Seen by The Times, these included:
- “Outlandish” all-expenses trips that consisted of stays in hotels, meals and taxi rides for him and his carer: hotel rooms must be spacious because “[a hit on] my leg or lower back which could lead to permanent paralysis”; and rail tickets must be open off-peak return or anytime return because “rushing has led to serious mental anxiety attacks and psychotic episodes and hospitalisation in the past”.
- Access to Edinburgh Airport’s Executive Lounge because he need to calm his “nerves as best as possible before a flight”.
- He threatens that a non-offer of a job interview or accommodation of his conditions will result in legal actions; and him going public.
Freedman’s actions were revealed after an inquiry by Scottish magazine Third Force News (TFN). Robert Armour, a writer for TFN, labelled the reach of Freedman’s campaign as “flabbergasting”. Freedman is well within his rights to apply for any position he wants, but his actions have led to him being called a “malicious applicant” by multiple charities.
Jackie Hothersall, CEO of charity Befriend a Child, said of his job interview requests with them: “He wanted two nights in a hotel and, as I recall, specified Irn-Bru and sandwiches during the interview. We spent money on legal advice and declined his application. But I can see how his approach would scare the living daylights out of most charities.”
Roslyn Scholarios, General Manager at Spinal Injuries Scotland, also sought legal advice after receiving an “extremely long and fairly threatening application letter”. Scholarios said: “It’s despicable that someone would take legislation that is there to support and protect some of the most vulnerable people in society and use it for their own selfish ends. I hope that he can be stopped.”
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