Disabled employees and workers have additional rights and protections in the workplace through the Equality Act 2010. Such rights are protections are clearly needed as recent studies have identified that almost half of disabled people in employment consider they have suffered in the workplace because of their disability.
Unfortunately, public perceptions of what is and is not a disability can lead to misunderstandings about who is protected under the Equality Act 2010. I often speak to people who are struggling at work because of a physical or mental condition and did not know they had rights and protections available to them.
What Is A Disability For The Purposes Of The Equality Act 2010?
The Equality Act 2010 states that a disability is a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on [the disabled person’s] ability to carry out normal day to day activities’.
Substantial means something more than a minor impact or inconvenience. The Employment Tribunal are aware that medical impairments can fluctuate. Symptoms may come and go completely or increase and decrease in their severity. The Employment Tribunal are also aware that people with medical impairments may have their symptoms alleviated through medication or, indeed, through their own coping strategies. The ability of a disabled person to cope with a medical impairment does not mean that the impact upon them is not substantial.
The medical impairment also has to be long term, which means the effects must have lasted (or be likely to last) for at least 12 months.
The reference to day to day activities refers to normal everyday activities. The Employment Tribunal have considered activities such as using a computer, writing, mobility, driving etc to be day to day activities.
There are some conditions, such as cancer, where the person is automatically considered to be disabled and entitled to protection. This is even if the effects of that person’s condition are not yet substantial in their impact on day to day activates. The fact of the diagnosis is sufficient for the person to be considered a disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and disability discrimination protections.
Who Does The Equality Act 2010 Protect?
In the employment sphere employees, workers, job applicants, trainees, Company Directors etc are protected from disability discrimination by their employer. All aspects of the relationship are covered. For example, an employee who is discriminated against in the recruitment process would be able to bring a claim against their prospective employer even if they never worked a day for that business.
Employment Tribunal Claims For Disability Discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 sets out various ways in which an employer’s treatment of a disabled person (or a person the employer believes is disabled) can be unlawful and could give rise to a disability discrimination claim at the Employment Tribunal. For more information, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/disability-discrimination/
Let Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help You
If you are suffering discrimination at work, call us on 01522 440512 for a free consultation. Alternatively, for more information about Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk
Sally Hubbard, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
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