Improving the workplace for neurodiverse employees

Improving equality, inclusion, and workplace justice for professional neurodiverse employees

Neurodiverse people face disproportionate inequality, exclusion, and injustice in employment. Research conducted by Professor James Richards and Professor Kate Sang addressed an urgent need to improve working lives and career opportunities and reduce discrimination for professional neurodiverse employees working in the UK transport industry.

The Research led to multiple levels of direct and indirect/hidden impacts across the UK transport industry (employs circa 250,000) and beyond. Through informing of a range of training packages, the research led to improved sector-wide awareness, individual-based advocacy, improved policies and line manager training and line manager training on neurodiversity. The research influenced Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), advocacy for autistic police employees, raised the profile of neurodiversity across the UK labour movement, particularly in the education sector.

In particular, the research informed ACAS generic guidance on neurodiversity, leading to 18,000 downloads of advice in three months following launch. Equality reps trained by The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) built ‘ground-level acceptance' of neurodiversity in numerous other ways by launching ‘lunch and learn' sessions, stalls, screening for dyslexia, information sessions with reps learning more about their own neurodiversity through such methods.

Building on the research findings, TSSA trained 50 specialist reps. The reps work for major transport organisations, e.g., Network Rail, Amey, Northern Rail and Transport for London (TfL). Indirectly, the research is linked to training over 200 NASWUT equality reps on neurodiversity since 2016. Further substantial levels of rep training, indirectly inspired by the joint work with TSSA, has been conducted by Public & Commercial Services Union. Drawing specifically on the research, TSSA has been able ‘to represent people effectively in performance, disciplinary, and discrimination issues'. The research has helped reps secure adjustments for members, ensured transport organisations are inclusive of neurodiverse employees.

Key information

Kate Sang

Job title

James Richards

Job title
Associate Professor