“A massive thank you for everything you’ve done and for getting such a fantastic result with my disability discrimination case. Your understanding of my illness has made all the difference.”
Gina, Disability Discrimination Client
Making Sense of the Law on disability discrimination for employees
The Equality Act 2010 addresses disability discrimination in the workplace. Certain conditions are automatically covered by the legislation from the point of diagnosis, including cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis. Otherwise, protection is granted to those with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The law also protects you as employees who are discriminated against because of the disability of a family member, friend or other people you associate with.
Disability discrimination law can be complex, so it is important to consult with a specialist disability discrimination lawyer if you believe you are experiencing discrimination on the grounds of disability.
Direct discrimination at work occurs where you are treated less favourably due to disability.
Discrimination arising from disability is a result of you being treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of your disability, unless this treatment can be objectively justified. It is not necessary to compare the treatment with someone else.
Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice disadvantages people with a disability – including yourself – compared to those without that disability, unless the provision is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Failure to make Reasonable Adjustments is discriminatory when a provision, criterion or practice is applied, or a physical feature of premises exists, which substantially disadvantages a disabled person. Your employers are obliged to make Reasonable Adjustments such as installing equipment, reallocating duties or changing workplace polices.
Harassment is unwanted conduct related to disability which has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The harassment need not be because of your own disability for it to be unlawful. There is no defence of justification in respect of harassment.
Victimisation is where you are treated less favourably because of action you have taken under or in connection with the legislation. For example, if someone formally complains of disability discrimination at work or supports someone who is complaining of disability discrimination in the workplace.
It is unlawful to directly discriminate against you as a worker because you are associated with someone else who has a disability. For example: if a worker was not invited to a business dinner with clients attending with their partners, because their partner is disabled.
It is unlawful to directly discriminate against you as a worker because of your perceived disability. For example, assuming that someone with a stammer would not have the communication abilities for a sales role, and subsequently declining to invite them for interview, without considering the potential employee’s actual abilities.
If you believe you have been discriminated against with regards to pay, working conditions, training, promotion or dismissal, our Employment Law disability discrimination solicitors can help. We offer advice on unfair dismissal disability discrimination, disability redundancy, and to those who have been offered a Settlement Agreement. We can also help if you believe you are facing disability discrimination as a job applicant or worker, including problems with a reference. We can advise regarding your employer’s duties to make reasonable adjustments to try and keep you in your job. If an Employment Tribunal is the only option, we can represent you.
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