Re: Discrimination in the workplace?
Thanks for your replies guys, almost the same thing was said to me by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. There are some employers that will only employ those with AS. I worked for RNIB for over ten years and they knew that I had problems with relating to people. (it still didn't stop them dismissing me for what was the breakdown in relationship with another colleague when they could and should have given a final written warning in the circumstances. The guy who sacked me has admitted he was forced to do it.)
Unfortunately though there seems to be a perception that almost any question at interview could land you in trouble, and yes there are a few people out there who will bring a claim for even the smallest issue. Some of them have been barred from bringing claims unless they can show they have a valid claim.
I don't think beliefs are a private matter because what you believe has an impact on how you carry out your work. If you have strongly held beliefs then you shouldn't have to keep them to yourself at all. In fact if any held beliefs that were discriminatory they would keep them quiet.
One of the problems with the whole issue of discrimination is that it is rarely overt (although I myself have been assaulted in the workplace - see http://www.prolifevote.org.uk/images/cri.mov). So if you can give a good reason why you didn't pick someone then you will escape trouble. Of course this does mean if you are able to lie with a straight face (as I've seen many people do at tribunal) you'll also get away with it.
I think the saddest thing is that we need this legislation in the workplace. I had an Employment Solicitor say to me once "now you have your diagnosis no-one wouldn't dare not employ you". I wouldn't want it to be like that, I had one employer last year turn me down for the lack of specific experience and I was fine with that. Two other employers however claimed lack of experience but never said what it was. One of them I did the job for three months and never failed to do what I was asked. (I have never ever lost a job on capability). Was it worth pursuing to tribunal? Probably not, although I will drop them leaflets on AS.
I am not backing down having been sacked explicitly for the reason that I "would not fit in". This is unacceptable to a supposedly diverse employer. If you can sign my petition at johnairey.epetitions.org that would be appreciated.