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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 Grand Chamber of the ECHR has delivered its decision in López Ribalda and others v Spain.

  • 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 Parnaby v Leicester City Council, in which the EAT considered when the long-term effect of an impairment should be determined.

  • Direct discrimination: Court of Appeal rules on perceived disability

    Date:
    26 June 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey, the Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal decision that a police constabulary had directly discriminated against an officer because of its perception that her medical condition could develop into a disability in the future.

  • Disability discrimination: Dismissal for poor attendance was harsh but fair

    Date:
    18 June 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Kelly v Royal Mail Group Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that a long-serving employee's dismissal for frequent absences in accordance with the employer's attendance policy was harsh but fair.