In which we name and shame
But, more importantly than all of that, it tells me how they found this blog. Which gives me really far more insight than I would wish to have into the detailed desires of various sad, lonely men around the world. All of whom must weep with disappointment when Google sends them in my direction.
But I've got a corker for you now. Nothing to do with bizarre fetishes involving young women and, er, cherries. Nothing so dull. Something much better, in fact. Oh, you are going to love this...
At 12.09 pm today, someone was directed to my blog as a result of having run the following search term through Google:
"When is it ok to not employ a disabled person?"
See? I told you you'd love it. Ah, but wait. I haven't finished yet. It gets better.
I delved slightly deeper into sitemeter than I have previously been wont to do. And, bless it, it furnished me with an IP address. The person who ran that search did so from a computer belonging to Southampton City Council.
Now, Southampton City Council: they're a public sector service provider, right? So they'll be subject to the Disability Equality Duty. Which means, if I'm not mistaken, that they must have published a Disability Equality Scheme. Last year. Mustn't they?
Let's see if we can persuade Google to point us towards it, shall we? Oh yes, here it is. (Well, actually, it's not. Under the DED, the scheme should have been published no later than the 1st of December last year. What we have here are "Draft Actions for the Equality Scheme". Which seems to be something rather less ... finished. Something a tad incomplete. But, unless my interwebnet searching skills have deserted me, it's the closest we're going to get to what we're actually looking for.)
Ok, so: scrolling....
Ah, yes. Here we are. Employment. Jolly good.
"The council wants to be the ‘employer of choice’ for all our diverse communities and have a workforce that is more representative of the communities we serve.
Disabled people are under-represented as employees of the council. We propose to take a range of steps that seek to increase employment of, and opportunities for, disabled people.
• reviewing our recruitment process
• continuing to develop ‘traineeships’
• improving disability equality awareness of managers through training."
Well, goodness me: isn't that interesting? Presumably conducting feverish web searches for when it's ok to not employ a disabled person falls under the "reviewing our recruitment process" bullet point, then? Although I'm pretty sure I can't be the only one who can't quite see how that fits in with the stated aim of increasing the employment of, and opportunities for, disabled people.
Because it seems to me - and, you know, call me cynical if you like - that what Southampton City Council are actually trying to do here is to weasel their way out of the equality-conscious aim the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 browbeat them into publishing, albeit only in draft form.
If there's an innocent interpretation of this which the red mist of my incandescent rage is preventing me from seeing, then by all means bring it to my attention. But you've got to admit that, on the face of it, it doesn't look good.
In the meantime, Southampton City Council, let me tell you precisely when it would be ok not to employ a disabled person. (You think I'm going to say, "Never!" now, don't you? You think I'm an uppity crip with the bit between her teeth, and I'm going to suggest you sack all your current non-disabled staff and replace them with disabled people. You think I'm completely unreasonable. You're wrong.)
You can employ whoever the hell you like. It would seem sensible to employ the best person for the job whenever a vacancy arises, but no-one can make you do that. What you can't do - and this is the important bit, so you may want to pay attention - what you can't do is fail to offer a disabled person the job if, by that action, you are treating that person less favourably than you would a non-disabled person for reasons relating directly to his or her impairment. (Strange as it might seem, refusing someone employment just because he or she is disabled does count as less favourable treatment. The law's funny like that.)
In other words, you can search Google until the cows come home, but you're not going to find a list of handy hints about circumstances under which you would have blanket justification for not offering a job to a disabled person. Because that would be disability discrimination. And that's illegal.