Disability discrimination could come in various forms. Here is a guide on key points.
Definition of disability
In order to claim disability discrimination it’s necessary to show that the person (or in some cases someone else) has or had a “disability”. Some conditions are specifically deemed to be disabilities (for example blindness/sight impairment, severe disfigurements, cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV infection). Some conditions are expressly stated not to be disabilities (for example addiction to alcohol or nicotine, voyeurism and body piercings and tattoos).
In cases which do not concern deemed or excluded disabilities the test for disability is if a person has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Types of unlawful discrimination
An employer cannot be liable for direct discrimination, discrimination arising from disability, failure to make reasonable adjustments or harassment unless it knew or should reasonably have known about the employee’s disability.
Bringing a claim
Job applicants or employees who believe that they have suffered from disability discrimination could consider bringing a claim in the employment tribunal. Prior to issuing a claim the job applicant or employee would be required to follow the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Services (Acas) early conciliation process. In certain cases it may also be appropriate to have raised a grievance beforehand.
Any claims must normally be filed within three months (less a day) from when the discriminatory act occurred. The time limit is subject to the early conciliation rules for extending time.
This guide is intended for guidance only and should not be relied upon for specific advice.