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Disability discrimination

Fiona Cuming

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

New and updated

  • Cases on appeal

    Type:
    Law reports

    Updated to reflect that the Court of Appeal will not hear the appeal in Awan v ICTS UK Ltd because the parties reached a settlement.

  • Reasonable adjustments for disabled workers: Employment tribunal round-up

    Date:
    25 November 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    We round up three employment tribunal decisions in which large employers were found to have breached the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees under the Equality Act 2010.

  • Court of Appeal decides if email advice on avoiding discriminatory dismissal is admissible

    Date:
    25 October 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Curless v Shell International Ltd, the Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal decision that an email that contained legal advice on how to avoid a discriminatory dismissal is protected by legal privilege because it was not advice to act in an "underhand or iniquitous way".

  • Date:
    2 October 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Charles Wynn-Evans examines the issues arising from HR referring an employee to occupational health and the lessons to be learnt from two cases that focused on whether the employers had "constructive" knowledge of disability.

  • Date:
    17 September 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    The Equality Act 2010 imposes a positive obligation on employers to make reasonable adjustments that will assist disabled individuals. While employers may be familiar with the duty, sometimes it is not straightforward deciding what is "reasonable". We explore some of the key factors as we look at seven situations where adjustments were found to be reasonable.

  • Disability discrimination awards 2018/19

    Type:
    Quick reference

    A table listing the disability discrimination awards made by employment tribunals in 2018/19.

  • Disability discrimination: Withdrawal of job offer not justified

    Date:
    11 September 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Birtenshaw v Oldfield, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the tribunal does not need to be satisfied that the adoption of lesser measures would have necessarily prevented the unfavourable treatment in a discrimination arising from disability claim.

  • Podcast: Dismissal for poor attendance

    Date:
    3 September 2019
    Type:
    Audio and video

    We discuss common issues associated with dismissal for long-term poor attendance recently highlighted in the EAT decision of Kelly v Royal Mail Group.

  • Date:
    21 August 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    The protection against discrimination arising from disability under s.15 of the Equality Act 2010 is framed to give HR sleepless nights. Jason Braier explains why as he looks at how the courts and tribunals are construing "something arising".

  • Disability discrimination

    Type:
    Employment law manual

    Updated to include information on Bessong v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, in which the EAT considered if an employer can be held liable for third-party harassment under the Equality Act 2010.