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Home  »   Ability   »   PDA challenges employers to employ neurodiverse and disabled pharmacists

PDA challenges employers to employ neurodiverse and disabled pharmacists

On Monday 16 October Mark Pitt, PDA Director of Legal Services spoke at The Pharmacy Show about workplace inclusion and the importance of pharmacy employers supporting neurodiverse and disabled employees.

Tue 5th December 2023 The PDA

Mark argued that including disabled and neurodiverse employees is not just a matter of conscience, but by not supporting this group, employers are losing out on a pool of talented pharmacists. Mark also pointed out that there are legal risks and reputational issues for employers who discriminate against such employees. This is not just about having inclusive policies, but also demonstrating that such policies are being practiced, this way, such employees are supported and valued at work.

Awards for disability discrimination are uncapped. In 2019 one NHS employee was awarded £208,724.90 by the Employment Tribunal due to the disability discrimination she faced and unfair dismissal. More details can be found here.

The law is clear that employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to protect employees from discrimination and take steps to prevent discrimination at work. The Act defines disability as ‘someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ or ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities’. The law covers:

  • Direct or indirect discrimination
  • Discrimination arising from disability
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation.

It is known that employers sometimes use the following tactics to try and avoid their responsibilities:

  • Deny knowledge of disability
  • Dispute if a person is disabled
  • Delay dealing with issues
  • Precipitate a deterioration
  • Refer to the GPhC or PSNI.

The PDA advises members with disabilities to keep a diary of incidents, consider whether to tell their employer about their disability, request an Occupational Health referral for advice on suitable reasonable adjustments, and make use of suitable external support such as Access to Work. Those encountering issues at work and encouraged to contact the PDA for advice early on.

The PDA also knows that many members are fearful of being open about their disability. Those who wish to gain more support can consider joining the PDA Ability Network or those who are already members can join in the network’s meetings. The network is a warm welcome and safe space to discuss concerns. Those wishing to contact the network can do so by emailing

Get involved

  • Follow the PDA Ability Network on social media using the hashtag #PDAability
  • For more information about the PDA Ability Network, click here.
  • If you would like to get involved with the network and its activities, please email:
  • Join the PDA Ability Network here.

Learn more

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists, and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.






The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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