The new NEU website is currently undergoing some changes and the members areas and links below are not currently available. We will update this area of our website as soon as the NEU site has been completed.
As you can also see, this information is kept confidential and is just used to ensure that people are given relevant information about their rights and available support. I would recommend using a personal email address for union correspondence rather than school address which may be viewed by your employer, especially if you don’t feel comfortable disclosing equalities information to them.
A couple of the categories may need further explanation:
Identification as being transgender starts from when the person decides that they are trans. It is not necessary to be undergoing medical treatment.
Disability is the category that is mostly under-reported.
Many disabled people don’t identify themselves as being disabled or are afraid to disclose their disability in case their employment is affected.
It is completely up to the individual person whether they wish to disclose their disability to their employer. If they do an are treated less favourably because of it, then the employer is acting unlawfully and the union can help.
A person is may be disabled if they have a physical or mental health condition that has a substantial effect on their ability to do everyday things and that is expected to last at least 12 months. ‘Substantial’ means more than trivial. If they have treatment that negates the effect of the impairment, disability is judged on what the effects would be WITHOUT the treatment.
Employers must make reasonable adjustments to help employees overcome substantial disadvantage caused by their impairment but this duty only kicks in once they know (or should know) about the disability.
The reasonable adjustments duty applies to physical features of the workplace that cause barriers, to providing equipment to help people do their job and altering features of policies, practices and criteria for the job.
If you believe you may need reasonable adjustments then check with your District Equality Officer or the District Secretary for advice.
Other good sources of advice are the NEU ‘Making Work Fit’ resource and the ‘Employer’s Code of Conduct’ for the Equality Act 2010 on the EHRC website.
The Social Model of Disability
There is a fabulous document written by the NEU on the social model of disability. It can be found here.
As the document is so clear, I will just give you a couple of phrases and what they mean to me as a disability activist.
“My impairment is not the problem, it is society that is the problem”:
Wheelchairs are often the symbol for disability but mine is my freedom. Give me a pavement without a camber and I dare you to keep up with me – you could outdistance me if you run but I can keep going for 25km, can you? Does that really sound disabled? I know I don’t feel disabled when I’m zooming along (especially downhill).
However, I can’t do and step bigger than 4 inches. I can wheelie up a kerb up to that height but I struggle to get down it and anything higher than that brings me to a standstill. At that point I become disabled; disabled by a feature that someone has put there. It is possible in most cases for alternatives to be put in place – a ramp or a lift – but these alternatives are often overlooked or people (always able-bodied) decide they are too expensive. Excuses such as “We don’t get any disabled people in here.” (Well of course you don’t, we can’t get in – or, how can you tell? Most disabilities are hidden). Next time you are on any high street have a look at how many shops have steps or narrow doorways.
If adjustments aren’t made then we are disabled by society. Both physical features and attitudes are more disabling than our actual impairments.
The other phrase that sums up the social model for me is:
“Nothing about us without us”
We are experts in knowing what we need. Don’t make decisions for us, give us a platform to speak for ourselves. This counts for disabled children as well as adults.
The NEU has a Disabled Members’ Section and a seat on the Executive representing disabled members. Our executive member is Colleen Johnson who has just started in post in 2019. There is a Disabled Members’ Conference every year.
We are affiliated to Hull and East Yorkshire Stand Up to Racism. We have a number of concerns with the current rise of racism across the country and our members have recently taken part in demonstrations against the rise of the far right. We are also very concerned at reports of increased racism in schools. If you experience this, please contact us for advice and support. Do not suffer in silence.
The NEU has a Black members section. Our executive member is Daniel Kebede. There is a Black members Conference every year.