Staff with disabilities and impairments
The Staff with Disabilities Policy aims to ensure that the University is an inclusive and accessible environment for staff with disabilities. This includes providing equitable recruitment processes, employment terms and conditions.
Guidelines for staff with disabilities and their managers
Our Staff with Disabilities and their Managers Guidelines explain the benefits of inclusive practices, how to avoid discrimination, and the legal implications of employing people with disabilities and impairments.
Employing staff with disabilities
As well as following the guidelines mentioned above, the checklist for employing staff with disabilities provides advice and links to resource material for each step in the employment process.
Fire emergency management and evacuation
Staff and students who may require assistance to evacuate during an emergency are requested to contact Health Safety and Wellbeing to discuss and develop personal emergency evacuation plans.
Employees who work with staff who have a disability or who know of visitors or students with disabilities should ensure those people are aware of the emergency and offer support if needed.
For example a Deaf person may need to be advised of the fire alarm, a person having a panic attack may need support to exit the building, the building warden may need to be informed of someone requiring an alternative accessible route.
Mental health and wellbeing
Supporting staff who are blind or have low vision
To support staff wellness, the University provides eye examinations and subsidised lenses and frames for eligible staff. Read the Eye Tests for Staff Members Standards
Interacting with a blind person may seem daunting at first. But an open mind and following a few basic principles will assist. Read the Blind Foundation’s advice on How to help or communicate with someone who is blind or has low vision.
All written material such as emails, intranet documents, reports, and lectures can be created in a way that will improve accessibility for people who use adaptive technology such as screen readers and magnifiers.
See the Blind Foundation's resource on Making your communications accessible
For further information or support available for people who are blind or have low vision, including appropriate adaptive technology and creating braille, audio or other accessible resources contact the Blind Foundation.
Supporting staff who are deaf or hearing impaired
Communication with a Deaf person doesn’t have to be a barrier to their participation and inclusion at work. Deaf Aotearoa’s Communication Tips provides some helpful information.
If you want to learn sign language contact Deaf Aotearoa for online or face-to-face classes.
Deaf Aotearoa can also offer practical guidance and advice in the following areas:
- Ensuring health and safety requirements are met
- Providing Deaf awareness training for staff
- Developing effective communication strategies; tips to assist lip reading, sign language, training, adaptive technology and basic etiquette
- Assisting with interpreters
- Organise job subsidies through Workbridge
- Providing ongoing support for the Deaf employee and their manager as needed - including working through difficult situations such as disciplinary proceedings.
Staff who show videos at meetings, in presentations and lectures or give links to videos on the internet can assist staff (and students) who have hearing impairments by providing a script or ensuring they are captioned.
Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
This is a free service for people who are Deaf which is provided using a webcam or video conference unit with a sign language Interpreter and could be useful in particular one-on-one situations such as recruitment interviews, performance appraisal interviews, staff-student meeting etc. Contact VRI for more information.
Deaf Aotearoa can provide further information and support for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired, their colleagues and managers.
Illness and injury
ACC provides a useful educational tool which promotes self-help and problem solving for preventing and managing discomfort, pain and injury at the workplace at HabitAtWork.
The Rehabilitation Standards and Procedures outlines how the University supports rehabilitation following an injury or illness and ensuring that there are appropriate plans for monitoring the health and rehabilitation of a staff member.
If you are facing difficult circumstances or decisions, personally or at work, EAP can help you work towards finding a personalised solution and peace of mind. All EAP discussions are confidential.
Medical retirement cannot be forced. However, if you have been ill or injured and fitness to work is in question, a proper process of assessment is expected. The outcomes of which should lead to an honest discussion between you and your manager. Considerations would include:
- A complete medical/psychological/functional assessment
- Appropriate treatment requirements and/or rehabilitation plan
- When it is safe to return
- Impact on job description
- What tasks can be managed and how
- Reasonable adjustments that may be required.
If you have an accident or injury at work you should fill out an incident form and contact your department or division Health and Safety representative. See Work Accident and ACC Claims for more information.
WorkAon manages work injury claims for the University. Their Claims Management and Rehabilitation Manual provides information for managers and employees.
Other disabilities and impairments
Workbridge is a specialist employment service that works with people with all types of disability, injury or illness. WEKA is New Zealand's disability information website, for people with disabilities, their families, whanāu and caregivers, health professionals and disability information providers.
Common disabilities and impairments are:
- Mobility Impairments; can be caused by a wide range of conditions, and includes not only people who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters, but also those who use walking sticks or other mobility aids, or may simply need to rest more often.
- Mental Health and Addiction issues; including depression and anxiety
- Musculoskeletal Disorders; including Arthritis and Occupational Overuse Injury
- Progressive and fluctuating conditions: Examples include Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Disorder (AIDS) and cancer
- Speech Impairments
- Hearing Impairments
- Vision Impairment
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Learning Difficulties and Developmental Disorders