The glass ceiling again…..

I am helping out a friend of mine who asked for advice and I asked if it is ok to put it out in the blogosphere and see what advice it can comes up with….

Hi folks, sorry to bother you but I am helping out a deaf colleague of mine whose first language is BSL..  She is keen to take the promotion test but would require a BSL interpreter to interpret the test for her as the questions/tasks are pretty much heavily worded in complicated political English.  The HR department have refused to allow her to have an interpreter – see their words below:-

I am happy for you to sit the test, but I’m afraid that as the tasks specifically require an individual to read and interpret English in the written form, translation into sign language would not be appropriate.

This would be unreasonable on the grounds that it specifically changes the nature of the test which is for the candidates to evaluate the logic of various kinds of arguments in the written form and also draw conclusions from graphical and tabular data.

I am surprised at the attitude shown by HR.  I recall that some of you had interpreters for your exams etc when you were at college/university?  How did you manage that and what arguments did you use?  Do you have any suggested wordings (reasonable please!).

I really want to support this lady as I feel she deserves support and not be brushed off which seems to be happening at the moment.  She’s thinking of giving it up which I think is a huge shame.

4 thoughts on “The glass ceiling again…..”

  1. They would be breaking the law (Disbilitiy Discrimination Act – DDA) if they did this.

    I’m sure better qualified people than me will comment though.

    Rob Wilks – http://robwilks.co.uk – is one of the best person to ask – he’s qualified for that kind of work I believe.

  2. From the outset, it is my opinion that there is discrimination going on. They are stating that complicated English cannot be convey through an interpreter, which is an assumption on their part. I feel they should be making reasonable adjustment and allows her use an interpreter (especially if she is able to get promoted) – it is down to her whether she is trained enough to understand the questions and answer appropriately. It doesn’t look like an English test to me but a test to assess the person’s ability and they are using a very lame excuse to block this person’s progression. Glass ceiling indeed!

  3. The Law clearly states the following:-

    (1) Where—
    (a) any arrangements made by or on behalf of an employer,
    place the disabled person concerned at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, it is the duty of the employer to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for him to have to take in order to prevent the arrangements or feature having that effect.

    So unless English is a specific requirement for promotion ie The use of english is essential they cannot discrimminate.

    By essential that means somthing like an English Teacher or Translating English or Grammar checking.

    Almost all jobs require teh use English but it is acceptable to use a BSL/English translator.

    Using a test for English where the Use of English is not essential to the job is illegal.

    Hope that Makes Sense?

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