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Disability wage test ‘discriminatory’  February 13, 2013 – 11:00 pm
Business Savvy Risk Managment

The Federal Government has suspended the ‘competency’ test used to determine disabled workers’ wages after a Full Court of the Federal Court found it was discriminatory.

A Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) spokesperson told HRR the assessments had been suspended while the government applied to the High Court seeking leave to appeal against the decision.

Two intellectually and physically disabled men, Gordon Prior and Michael Nojin, successfully argued they were discriminated against. Both filed claims in the Federal Court in February 2009 alleging unlawful discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Victoria-based Prior is legally blind and has a mild-to-moderate intellectual disability. Stawell Intertwine Services Inc, an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE), employed him on less than $3 an hour to maintain gardens. NSW-based Nojin has cerebral palsy, a moderate intellectual disability and epilepsy. He earned $1.85 an hour destroying documents for ADE Coffs Harbour Challenge Inc.

The employers used the business services wage assessment tool (BSWAT), which measures disabled workers’ competency and productivity, to determine their pay. Prior and Nojin argued the tool compared disabled people without intellectual disabilities to those with intellectual disabilities, meaning those with intellectual disabilities would always recover less. They claimed their employers discriminated against them because of their intellectual disability, and denied or limited their access to certain employment benefits.

Source: Workplace Insight

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