Is it unlawful for an employer to ask on an application form whether or not a candidate has a disability?

Under s.60 of the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful and potentially discriminatory on the ground of disability for an employer to ask a job applicant questions about his or her health or disability before making a job offer to that person. Although there are some exceptions to this (eg to establish whether or not there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments in connection with the recruitment process or if an applicant will be able to carry out an intrinsic function of the work), it is advisable for employers to ensure that questions about whether or not a candidate requires an adjustment to be made in respect of the recruitment process are phrased without any reference to disability. This will allow disabled job applicants to request adjustments without the need to disclose the nature of their disabilities.

Questions to establish whether or not the employer needs to make adjustments to the recruitment process should be asked at the appropriate time. For example, application forms might ask applicants to contact the employer if they need the form in an alternative format, while questions about adjustments to the interview process might be asked in the invitation to the interview.