What is disability discrimination?

The Equality Act 2010 provides disabled people with protection from discrimination.

The following types of disability discrimination are prohibited: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, discrimination arising from a disability, disability harassment and victimisation in the work place.

Am I disabled?

Many people suffering from long-standing medical complaints which are affecting their daily activities are unaware that they are legally considered to be disabled.

Under the Equality Act 2010 a person is disabled if they satisfy the following test:

  1. Do they have a physical or mental impairment?
  2. Does their impairment have a ‘substantial’ effect on their ability to carry out daily activities? ‘Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial – e.g. it takes much longer than usual to carry out a daily task like getting dressed.
  3. Does their impairment have a ‘long-term’ effect on their ability to carry out normal daily activities? ‘Long-term’ means if a medical condition or illness is likely to last for 12 months or longer.

If you have any of the following conditions you are automatically considered to be disabled: cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, severe disfigurements, blindness, severe sight impairment, sight impairment and partial sightedness (if confirmed by a Consultant Ophthalmologist).

Some conditions are not considered to be disabilities e.g. drug and alcohol addiction.

What are ‘reasonable adjustments’?

Employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the work place and working practices to help disabled employees and job applicants.

Some examples of ‘reasonable adjustments’ are:

  • Changing equipment/providing additional equipment;
  • Making changes to the work place, e.g. installing ramps for wheelchair users;
  • Enabling an employee to rearrange their hours to permit them to attend a weekly counselling session.

Disability discrimination law is complicated and this article only provides a brief summary of the law.

The time limits for bringing a disability discrimination claim are strict and you should not delay seeking legal advice.

If you believe you have a disability discrimination claim, please contact us for a no obligation discussion, to see if we are able to help you.

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