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Many people with Asperger syndrome are more than capable of handling a job and show focus and commitment that makes them an asset in the workplace. Despite this, however, the proportion of Asperger sufferers in employment is relatively low, and those who do have a job often encounter difficulties due to the lack of understanding of their colleagues and employers.

Aspergers is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, which means employers are breaking the law if they discriminate against you because you have the condition, either directly or indirectly e.g. through policies or procedures that put you at a disadvantage.

If you notify them that you suffer from Aspergers, your employer is also obliged to make reasonable adjustments to your working practices or environment to help you carry out your duties.

Such adjustments might include:

Giving clear instructions to reduce anxiety
Providing timetables or written instructions for tasks required
Giving regular, sensitive feedback
Supporting you in your role e.g. by a thorough induction process, assigning a mentor or 'buddy'
Allowing flexible working
Using desk partitions and other equipment to reduce sensory issues such as noise and lighting
Providing awareness training for other employees so that they understand the condition.

Employers can get help and advice from the government's Access to Work scheme through JobCentre Plus. They should also consult thoroughly with you to fully understand what your condition involves and what they can do to help. For more information Aspergers, visit the Asperger Foundation website.

Making a claim

If your employer does not consult with you, carry out the necessary checks and investigations and make any reasonable adjustments required, your work may suffer. In some circumstances you may find that you are dismissed on the basis that you are unable to carry out the role. If this is the case then you may be entitled to claim against your employer for disability discrimination.

There is no minimum length of employment required to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal, but it is important to lodge your claim within 3 months of the act of discrimination occurring. It is therefore essential that you take legal advice on your situation at an early stage and as soon as possible.

If you think you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of Asperger syndrome, please phone Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 or complete the form on the right. Lawson-West offer free initial consultations so it won't cost you a penny to find out if you have a claim. We also run a number of free drop-in advice clinics at our offices in Leicester, Wigston & Market Harborough.

Lawson-West will make sure that your disability discrimination claim is funded on the most appropriate basis and that will often be on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that Lawson-West have a vested interest in ensuring your employment claim is successful.