Stephensons recently attended the Disability Awareness Day held in the grounds of Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington to provide advice and assistance to members of the public in relation to disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
What can you do if you feel you that have been a victim of such discrimination?
The Equality Act 2010 is was brought into force to protect individuals from discrimination, harassment and/or victimisation should they hold one of the nine listed protected characteristics under the act.
One of these protected characteristics is disability, but what conditions are classed as disabilities for the purpose of the act?
Under Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if:
(a) they have a physical or mental impairment, and
(b) the impairment has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
A person is protected immediately under the Equality Act 2010 as soon as they are diagnosed with a progressive condition such as cancer or HIV.
There are a number of types of claims which could be brought under the head of disability discrimination.
This occurs when a person is directly treated less favourably than another person (who does not hold their protected characteristic) in a similar situation due to their disability.
This occurs when there is a particular criteria, practice or policy is applied to everyone which places a disabled person at a detriment due to their disability.
Failure to make reasonable adjustments
Employers and organisations have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their working practices/environments to ensure that disabled people can access jobs and services in the same way as a person who is not disabled.
There are a number of considerations when determining whether an adjustment is deemed reasonable, including:
- Is it practical?
- Is it proportionate?
- Does the employer/organisation have the resources to implement it?
- Will the adjustment be effective in overcoming or reducing the disadvantage?
- What effect will it have on other employees and/or service users?
Discrimination arising from a disability
This is where a person suffers a detriment due to a reason connected to their disability.
This occurs when a disabled person is treated in a way that is intended to and makes them feel humiliated, offended and/or degraded or they are placed in such an environment for a reason associated with their disability.
This is when a disabled person is placed at a detriment because they have done a protected act, such as making a complaint of discrimination or supporting someone who is making a complaint of discrimination.
If you feel that you may have been subjected to disability discrimination it is important to remember that there are strict time limits to bring such a claim in the County Court or the tribunal. It is therefore important that you seek specialist legal advice without delay following an incident of discrimination.
If you need further advice regarding discrimination, please contact our specialist discrimination team on 01616 966 229.
By Carrie Higgins, employment and discrimination advisor