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Can you afford to hire a pharmacy technician with a disability?

You are aware a prospective pharmacy technician has a condition that causes severe vision problems
You are aware a prospective pharmacy technician has a condition that causes severe vision problems

Do you have enough HR knowledge to solve this month's HR dilemma?

You have been interviewing candidates for a pharmacy technician post, and have a shortlist of two individuals. During their interview, one candidate reveals they have a degenerative eye condition.

You are aware that this condition can lead to severe sight loss. Your pharmacy runs on a shoestring as it is, and you fear making changes and allowances to accommodate this employee could really harm you financially.


Should you hire the candidate that does not have a disability?
Total votes: 32

This HR dilemma was originally posted on the Accord Academy website, part of Accord Healthcare Ltd

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How would you deal with this HR dilemma?

Dave Downham, Manager

Question is missing a key point - how do the candidates rate compared to each other? On the assumption that they are equally skilled, then you would make up a reason to go for the non-disabled candidate. Sorry, but that's how it works.

Thomas Wilde, Community pharmacist

My understanding would be if they were unable to do their job as they couldn't read the labels, prescription etc and there aren't any reasonable changes you can make that would enable them to work,which I can't think of in this scenario. You can then not hire them based on their inability to do the job. The legal phasing around 'reasonable adjustments' is somewhat grey but usually means things that are not overly expensive and would be considered be a lay person as resonable. An example would be someone with dwarfism. Obviously most pharmacies are not desgined for this and in current states would make it harder for them to do their work however it would be considered a reasonable adjustment for example to buy steps that allowed them to get to the counter or an extendable grabber to get boxes of shelves. So in that case you would not be allowed to dismiss their application based on disability. Ultimately if you told the person no simply because of their sight you would be open to legal action but if you told them that you had considered the application fairly but that there was no way of making adjustments to the pharmacy that allowed them to work then you would in theory be covered. 

david williams, Community pharmacist

Risk assesment needed here. Try defending an error in reading the prescription / label, by the technician, in court, after being told that their eyesight was poor. Why put your organisation and your judgement at risk? Unfair to candidate,? maybe, Unwise to employ, almost certainly!

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

If you had 2 people with the exact same qualifications, personality, gender and age, one had the above condition and one did not, you would chose the one without. Simple business needs. Illegal it may appear to be, but in the long term your business needs should come first.

A B, Community pharmacist

Gender and age? Now you are throwing sexism and ageism into the mix!

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