Editor's message: People with disabilities are protected in the workplace against discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of their disability. The protection covers actual and prospective employees, and ex-employees.
An important and unique feature of disability discrimination law is the duty to make reasonable adjustments. One of the situations in which the duty is triggered is where an employer adopts a rule or practice that subjects a disabled person to a substantial disadvantage. Under the duty, employers must take reasonable steps to remove that disadvantage.
You may do this by, for example, allocating some of the disabled person's duties to another person; changing his or her hours or place of work; or modifying disciplinary or grievance procedures. A failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments constitutes disability discrimination.
There is no qualifying period of employment for an individual to bring a claim of disability discrimination to an employment tribunal and no ceiling on the amount of compensation that can be awarded if a claim is successful.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
Updated to include information on Asda Stores Ltd v Raymond, in which the EAT held that the employee's dismissal for urinating in a loading yard was something arising from disability.
While leadership teams increasingly embrace the challenges of gender and ethnic diversity, research has shown that disability is absent from most board-level discussions around the world.
In Asda Stores Ltd v Raymond, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the tribunal decision that the employer's failure to conduct a reasonable investigation and to take reasonable care during the disciplinary process made the employee's dismissal unfair. The EAT also upheld the tribunal's ruling that his dismissal arose from his disability.
Consultant editor Darren Newman suggests that a recent Supreme Court decision raises more questions than it answers about the tricky issue of what exactly constitutes "unfavourable treatment" because of something arising in consequence of a disability.
In Williams v Trustees of Swansea University Pension & Assurance Scheme and another, the Supreme Court held that an employee, whose working hours had been reduced to accommodate his disability, was not treated "unfavourably" when his enhanced pension on ill-health retirement was based on his final part-time salary, rather than his full-time salary.
In Awan v ICTS UK Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that an implied term of the contract of employment prohibited the employer from dismissing the employee for medical capability while he was entitled to receive long-term disability benefits.
In Wood v Durham County Council, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the employee's tendency to steal was a manifestation of his disability and an excluded condition under the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010.
A woman with a long-term eye condition, who lost her job at a food preparation firm after being asked to peel onions, has won her case for unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland.
In Evans v Xactly Corporation Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld an employment tribunal's ruling that calling a salesperson a "fat ginger pikey" in a working environment with a culture of "jibing and teasing"; was not harassment under the Equality Act 2010.
A salesman who was called a "fat ginger pikey" by work colleagues has lost his claim for disability discrimination and victimisation at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to disability discrimination.