Coronavirus: information and updates

Finding out if a workplace is accessible

There are ways to find out about what a workplace is like without talking about disability access. To find the answers to other questions, you may need to tell the employer that you’re disabled.

Check accessibility

It's always best to check accessibility in person if you can. Perhaps visit the area beforehand.

Failing that, try Google Street View or search for pictures online to find out if a building's entrance looks accessible.

You can look on the company website for information about accessibility, diversity and inclusion.

See if they talk about flexible or remote working.

Get a tour of the building

Some employers have open days. If the employer deals with the public, you could:

  • visit the premises as a customer
  • ask if the building is accessible

While you’re there, you could ask to use the toilet or see the other facilities. You could also see how people react when they meet you.

Or you could email the HR department or diversity lead and say something like:

"I have seen the advert for [ROLE]. I’m really keen on applying for the role. I am a wheelchair user. Could we arrange a meeting so that I could come and see the building and have a look around? I’d like to make sure there’s access to the building and level access inside it before I apply."

The employer may not know about what Access to Work grants can pay for. Talking with the employer about Access to Work can help them to feel more confident that they’ll be able to make any adjustments you need.

Access to Work 

Look for people on social media

Look up the employer on LinkedIn and Twitter. See if any of your contacts know someone who's worked for them.

The contact person in the job advert might not be the best person to give you impartial advice about what it’s like working there. If it’s a large organisation, you could ask the equality and diversity manager.

Search tribunal cases

See if there have been any employment tribunals brought against your employer by disabled people.

Treat them like other online reviews. One bad judgement does not always mean that they're a bad employer.

Search employment tribunal decisions (GOV.UK).

Other things to think about

You may find that some employers do not know how to help disabled people, even when they want to.

You are the expert on your condition. It’s your decision what you want to tell your employer and when. You have the right to ask questions about anything that will affect your performance or wellbeing at work, such as:

Transport and location

  • Will you pay for taxis?
  • Do you have to travel or can you work from home?
  • Are disabled employees given a parking bay?
  • How far are the bays for disabled people from the building?
  • Is there accessible public transport?

Access to the building

  • Is there step-free access?
  • What kind of door will you need to open?

Ways of working

  • What kind of software will you use?
  • How will you communicate and share information?
  • What other tools will you use?
  • Will you need to travel?
  • Is the main site the only place you will work?

Food

  • Where do you get food from?
  • Are the microwave and coffee machine at the right height?
  • How are you going to move food to where you’re eating?

Toilets

  • What are the toilets like?
  • If you need an accessible toilet, where are they and how many are there?
  • Can you reach the emergency cord, and when was it last tested?
  • Are there hygiene products for women in the accessible toilet?

Lifts

  • How many lifts are there if you’re not going to be working on the ground floor?
  • Is the lift working?
  • Is there Braille on the lift buttons?

Fire safety

  • Is there an evac chair?
  • Can you meet the fire marshal?
  • Is there an accessible fire alarm?
  • Do any employees have personal evacuation plans?

Workspace

  • Is it big enough to let you move without asking other people to move?
  • Is there space for the equipment you might need?
  • Do disabled people have priority to use quiet rooms?
  • What kind of light is there, and can it be controlled?

Access to other areas

  • How will you get to any communal areas?
  • Are there induction loops in meeting spaces?
  • Are there clear routes between places?

Last reviewed by Scope on: 04/06/2021

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