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Staff Recruitment and Selection Guidelines - People with Disability

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) Charles Sturt University (the University) values diversity in its workforce and has set targets in its Disability Action Plan to improve workforce diversity by increasing the proportion of staff with disability at all levels in the total staff population.

(2) The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide advice and guidance in relation to recruitment, selection and appointment of people with disability to staff positions.


(3) These Guidelines apply to all staff involved in recruiting and selecting applicants for continuing and fixed-term appointments at the University.

(4) These Guidelines do not apply to the appointment of casual staff.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) For the purposes of these Guidelines:

  1. Disability - is broadly defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) as any physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric, neurological or learning disability, and includes physical disfigurement and the presence in the body of disease causing organisms. A disability may be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired. The prohibition against discrimination on the basis of disability also covers a disability that existed in the past, may exist in the future or that is imputed to a person.
    1. The medical model of disability views disability as a health condition in need of treatment by medical professionals. It focuses on what people with disability cannot do and cannot be. (People with Disability Australia, The social model of disability)
    2. The social model of disability has replaced the medical model as the internationally recognised way of viewing and addressing disability. The social model defines disability as "the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and barriers in the physical, attitudinal, communication and social environment". Its focus is on changing the environment to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal basis with others. (People with Disability Australia, The social model of disability)
  2. Inherent requirements - refers to the "core activities, tasks or skills that are essential to a workplace in general, and to a specific position". (Disability Employment Australia, Employers Guide to Partnering with Disability Employment Services)
  3. Reasonable adjustment - refers to the administrative, environmental or procedural alterations that are required to remove unnecessary barriers to people with disability working or studying effectively and on the same basis as others. Universities have a statutory responsibility to make such adjustments in work and study contexts wherever it is necessary, possible and reasonable to do so. An adjustment is considered reasonable if it takes into account the requirements of the person with disability and balances the interests of all parties affected. An organisation may refuse to introduce an adjustment if it can demonstrate that to do so would cause it "unjustifiable hardship".
  4. Disability discrimination - refers to a person being treated less favourably or not given the same opportunities as others in a similar situation because of their disability. (Australian Human Rights Commission)
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Section 3 - Policy

(6) Refer to:

  1. Staff Recruitment and Selection Policy;
  2. Disability and Work or Study Adjustment Policy; and
  3. Equal Opportunity Policy.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(7) Refer to:

  1. Staff Recruitment and Selection Procedure; and
  2. Workplace Adjustment Procedure.
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Section 5 - Guidelines


(8) Consistent with the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008 and Equal Employment Opportunity principles, Charles Sturt University is committed to improving employment opportunities and retention rates for people with disability.

(9) To achieve the overarching commitments in clause 8, the University is specifically committed to:

  1. actively recruiting people with disability to positions in the University;
  2. identifying and removing systemic barriers that may prevent or hinder people with disability from applying for University positions or working at the University;
  3. a recruitment and selection process that is free from unlawful discrimination;
  4. applicants with disability being able to compete on a fair and equitable basis with other applicants, regardless of past or continuing disadvantage;
  5. selecting staff based on the principles of merit;
  6. fostering a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment;
  7. promoting and implementing reasonable workplace adjustments, including appropriate equipment and support services, to enable people with disability to attend job interviews and, if appointed, to participate and work effectively in the University;
  8. providing equitable access to induction and professional development programs; and
  9. providing training and/or information on disability issues for staff working with people with disability, where appropriate.

(10) The University will have due regard for each person's right to privacy and confidentiality concerning their disability during the recruitment process and employment at the University.

(11) The University will strive to improve the representation of people with disability in the workforce by implementing all employment-related actions in the Disability Action Plan.

(12) Staff with disability will be expected to perform to the same standards as all staff.


(13) The University has two processes available for recruiting people with disability for employment:

  1. the standard recruitment process, which promotes employment opportunities to all who wish to apply; and/or
  2. targeted recruitment, which focuses solely on attracting and appointing people with disability.

Standard Recruitment

Disclosure of Disability

(14) In the standard recruitment process, there is no obligation for a job applicant to disclose their disability to an employer unless the disability could affect their job performance or ability to work safely.

(15) The applicant may choose if and when to disclose their disability. For example, they may choose to disclose in any of the following stages: application, pre-interview, interview, offer of employment or commencement. They may also decide whom to tell, e.g. their line manager and/or the Division of People and Culture, and whether or not colleagues may be informed.

(16) If the applicant or staff member decides to disclose, they only need to discuss their disability in terms of relevance to job performance and work safety. Other details about their disability are not required.

(17) An applicant who discloses their disability will not be discriminated against because of their disability, and is protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).

(18) A staff member who does not disclose their disability and later under-performs because of the disability is not protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). An employer who is unaware of a staff member's disability cannot be deemed to have discriminated against them.

Advertisement and Applications

(19) When reviewing an existing position or creating a new position, the line manager should check that it is written in plain English and ensure that the selection criteria are not restrictive or have the potential to exclude people with disability from applying.

(20) If a medical assessment is needed to determine an applicant's physical capability to perform the inherent requirements of a position, the medical assessment will be specified in the position description and apply to the preferred candidate.

(21) The application process, including job-related communication and information, should be accessible to people with disability. For example:

  1. the Jobs@CSU web page should be accessible and easy to navigate and print;
  2. the application form and supporting documents should be available in alternative, accessible formats (e.g. paper-based, large font size or oral) for applicants who disclose disability;
  3. applications will be accepted in different formats (e.g. paper-based, email attachment or oral), as appropriate to the applicant's disclosed disability; and
  4. extension of time for lodging applications may be granted if the closing date is not achievable due to limitations associated with an applicant's disclosed disability - this request for an extension will need to be supported by a medical professional, Centrelink office and/or rehabilitation service provider on official letterhead.

(22) A register of applicants who disclose disability will be maintained, along with their curriculum vitae (CV or resume), for the purpose of promoting future vacancies that are relevant to their knowledge, skills and experience. The Division of People and Culture will ask unsuccessful applicants who have disclosed their disability if they would like their details to be added to this recruitment register.

Interviewing and Selection

(23) Applicants who have disclosed their disability and meet the essential selection criteria will be short-listed to attend an interview, in keeping with the University's policy for attracting applicants with disability.

(24) It is recommended that the Division of People and Culture ask all short-listed applicants, regardless of disability, if they require an accessible venue or any workplace adjustments such as special equipment or support services to enable them to participate in an interview.

(25) Applicants with disability may bring to the interview an assistance dog or service dog, therapeutic or other mechanical equipment to help alleviate the effect of the disability, and/or an interpreter, reader, assistant or carer to provide services relating to their disability. They should notify the Division of People and Culture of this required assistance so that appropriate arrangements can be made and the interview panel informed.

(26) People with disability will compete on a fair and equitable basis with other applicants and be assessed in relation to the selection criteria, in accordance with the Staff Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure.

(27) Selection panel members should be given training and/or information about relevant disability issues relating to job recruitment and selection, including the need to focus on the applicant's ability rather than disability.

(28) The selection panel should encourage all applicants, with or without disability, to present their qualifications, skills and experience in a positive manner that emphasises their abilities and assets.

(29) Interview questions should relate to the essential selection criteria and allow applicants to demonstrate where they gained their skills and abilities, regardless of the context. The questions should be the same for all applicants, with or without disability, subject to clause 30 of these Guidelines.

(30) A selection panel may only ask about an applicant's disability to:

  1. determine how the person will perform the inherent requirements of the job;
  2. assess any work health and safety risks related to their disability; and
  3. identify workplace adjustment needs.

(31) Any other questions about their disability are inappropriate.

(32) If a medical assessment is required to determine capability to undertake the inherent requirements of a position, a conditional offer of employment may be made to the best applicant, with confirmation dependent on the results.

(33) NOTE: The requirement for a medical assessment is not unlawful if all staff commencing similar positions are required to have a medical assessment.

(34) According to clause 49D (4) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW), it is not unlawful discrimination if an employer, after taking into account an applicant's past training, qualifications and experience relevant to the advertised position, decides not to offer employment to a person with disability because their disability:

  1. renders them unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the position; or
  2. requires services or facilities that would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer.

Targeted Recruitment

(35) Where special efforts are needed to attract people with disability to apply for positions at the University, the line manager should consult with the Manager, Equity and Diversity in the Division of People and Culture to develop appropriate strategies such as those identified in the following clauses.

(36) To help the University achieve its Disability Action Plan targets, positions may specifically target people with permanent disability.

(37) NOTE: A special exemption from anti-discrimination laws is not required for positions targeting people with disability because these laws do not cover discrimination against people without a disability.

(38) Positions targeting people with permanent disability must not specify a particular disability. This would constitute unlawful discrimination against applicants who are able to meet the selection criteria but have a different disability from what is specified.

(39) Job advertisements and position descriptions shall specify that the position is targeted at people with permanent disability, and provide contact details for the Manager, Equity and Diversity (for disability-related enquiries) in addition to contact details for the line manager (for role-related enquiries).

(40) In addition to the requirements in clause 36, the position description shall specify:

  1. proof of disability as an essential selection criterion - this information should be provided on official letterhead from a medical professional, Centrelink office and/or rehabilitation service provider;
  2. physical capabilities that will be needed to carry out the inherent requirements of the position; and/or
  3. a medical assessment to confirm capability to carry out the inherent requirements of the position.

(41) Targeted job search measures include:

  1. advertising positions through community-based media that target people with disability;
  2. distributing information about vacant positions through relevant networks to prospective applicants;
  3. informing past and current University members with disability about vacant positions;
  4. offering traineeships, internships and work placements;
  5. becoming a member of the Australian Network on Disability and accessing its services to advance the inclusion of people with disability in University employment; and
  6. developing links and accessing the services of Disability Employment Services providers and the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator.

(42) Applications from people with permanent disability will be assessed on a competitive basis against the essential selection criteria by a selection panel, which should include the line manager and either the Manager, Equity and Diversity or a disability specialist.

  1. If there is only one applicant who meets the essential selection criteria, they will be interviewed by the panel to determine their ability to perform the inherent requirements of the position and, if deemed capable, an offer of employment may be made.
  2. If an applicant does not meet the essential criteria, the University does not guarantee an interview or offer of employment.
  3. If there are no suitable applicants who meet the essential criteria, then the targeted restriction may be removed and the position re-advertised internally and/or externally to attract all suitable applicants, with or without disability, in accordance with the University's standard staff recruitment and selection procedure.

(43) If an interview is not the most appropriate way for a person with disability to demonstrate their skills, other strategies include:

  1. setting practical assessment tasks for all applicants to undertake in addition to a modified interview; and/or
  2. assessing suitability through a work trial (casual employment) for a preferred candidate.

(44) In determining whether or not to make an offer of employment, the budget centre manager, in consultation with the Manager, Equity and Diversity, will take into consideration the University's ability to provide reasonable workplace adjustments that will enable the person with disability to undertake the inherent requirements of the position.

(45) If an applicant with disability is able to perform the inherent requirements of a job but not the non-essential aspects, then the line manager should make other arrangements for those tasks to be carried out, e.g. by assigning them to another staff member. This may result in the need to modify the appointee's position description and/or reduce hours of work accordingly.