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Is anxiety a disability protected by the Equality Act 2010?

View profile for Kasey Hamer
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Disability discrimination in universities

Being diagnosed with anxiety will not automatically mean that you are protected by the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

There are very few conditions/diagnoses which are classed as disabilities automatically under the act (including cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis). If the condition is not classed as a disability automatically within the act, a person must evidence that they meet the criteria imposed by Section 6 EQA 2010, in order to be protected by the disability provisions.

The criteria imposed by Section 6 EQA 2010 is that a person is considered to have a disability for the purpose of bringing a discrimination claim if they have:

  1. A physical or mental impairment; and
  2. The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

For an impairment to be substantial, it must be “more than minor or trivial”, and to be long term, the impairment must have lasted, or be likely to last, generally, in excess of 12 months. If these criteria are met, a person is likely to be protected from discrimination on the basis of their condition under the Equality Act 2010, however, this will often need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In the event that you require further advice on whether a condition meets the criteria as imposed by Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010, please contact our specialist discrimination law team on 0161 696 6170.