Customs refused blind lawyer a job

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The Independent Online
A GOVERNMENT agency has been found guilty of discriminating against a blind man just a week before new tough laws protecting workers with disabilities come into force.

An Asian lawyer with an excellent service record was refused promotion in the Customs and Excise legal department because he was blind, an employment tribunal has ruled.

The Customs case will focus attention on the way people with disabilities are treated at work. This week Scope, the disability charity, launches a campaign to raise awareness of disability issues to coincide with the third part of the Disability Discrimination Act, which comes into force on Thursday.

Farooq Shah, who has worked as a lawyer in the legal department of Customs and Excise since 1991, claimed that he had been passed over for promotion because he is blind and Asian.

Croydon employment tribunal found Customs guilty of disability discrimination but cleared it of race discrimination. Scope said Mr Shah's case highlighted the problems of employers who thought it was enough to take on employees with disabilities - and then ignored the development of their careers.

The First Division Association, the civil service trade union which supported Mr Shah in his legal action, described him as a "natural candidate" for promotion. An award for compensation will be set in December.