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Disability discrimination solicitors

If an individual believes that they have been discriminated against on grounds of disability or you have received a complaint of this and you wish to discuss your situation on a confidential basis with our specialist solicitors please complete our online enquiry form or call us on 01616 966 229.

An individual may be classed as suffering from a disability if they have 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.

A qualifying condition can include, (amongst other things), learning disabilities, mental illness, (such as depression and anxiety, schizophrenia or agoraphobia), cancer, aids or HIV infection and impairments which come and go if the actual effect is likely to recur (for example rheumatoid arthritis).

If an individual suffers from a progressive condition they will be protected from unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act, from the moment that their condition leads to the impairment of their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

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Day-to-day activities 

Day-to-day activities include consideration of general mobility, ability to lift, carry or move everyday objects, physical co-ordination, eye-sight or hearing, speech, memory, manual dexterity, ability to concentrate, learn or understand, continence or perception of risks.

The effect on an individual’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities must be more than trivial and the effects must have lasted or be likely to last at for least 12 months or for the rest of their life. If this is not the case then the condition will not be classed as a “disability” for the purposes of a claim under the Equality Act.

The protection afforded by the Equality Act applies to every stage of the employment relationship i.e. advertising vacancies, recruitment, promotion, training and other opportunities, and dismissal.

This protection also extends to discrimination in the course of an individual’s day to day life as a consumer or service user. Such discrimination can be as a result of refusals to provide a service to a disabled user or to make reasonable adjustments to their working procedures or policies to enable the individual to engage with the service.

Less favourable treatment can also be experienced directly or indirectly and can take various forms. This can include the making of unpleasant comments towards them in the course of their employment by colleagues or in the course of their day to day lives as consumers or service users.

Such conduct can be considered by the tribunals and the courts as harassment if it is believed that the behaviour has had the effect of violating the individual’s dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Commonly, cases involving disability discrimination include claims for direct discriminationindirect discriminationdiscrimination arising out of disabilityfailure to make reasonable adjustments, and/or harassment.

Who can be held accountable for disability discrimination?

An employer, public bodyservice provider or association can be held accountable for the conduct of their employees which gives rise to claims against these businesses or organisations.

If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination as a result of your disability or you have received a complaint of this and would like to speak to a member of our team call us on  01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form without delay.

Disability discrimination FAQs

Does an individual have a disability?

There is no definitive list of conditions which are classed as disabilities under the Equality Act 2010. To be a ‘disabled person’ an individual must have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ adverse impact on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Does disability discrimination cover mental health conditions?

 Yes – disability discrimination covers conditions such as depression and anxiety, amongst other mental health conditions.

Can an employer refuse to employ someone because of their disability?

No – in the majority of cases an employer cannot refuse to employ someone on this basis. All reasonable measures must be considered to allow a disabled person to do a job in the same way as a non-disabled person.

There may be circumstances where a disabled person can be prevented from undertaking a particular role where certain health requirements are a condition of employment.

Does an individual have to inform their employer their my disability?

There is no obligation to inform an employer of a disability. However, the employer is only under a duty to make reasonable adjustments when they are made aware, or are ought reasonably to have been aware of the disability.

Many employers will also ask for this information at the outset of a person’s employment to consider making adjustments and because an employer is obligated to look after a person’s health and welfare in the workplace.

What are reasonable adjustments?

An individual is entitled to the provision of reasonable adjustments where they are placed at a substantial disadvantage as a result of their disability by:

  • A provision, criterion or practice applied by an employer or organisation – this includes company policies, rules, or one-off decisions made by your employer
  • Physical features of an employer’s or service provider’s premises – this includes the design/construction of the building, exit from and access to the building, furniture and equipment
  • An employer’s or organisation’s failure to provide an auxiliary aid – such as an interpreter, note takers or screen readers.

Can an employer or service provider refuse reasonable adjustments?

A failure to make reasonable adjustments will often be classed as disability discrimination. However, what is considered reasonable is dependent on the factors such as the size of the employer/organisation and the finances available. A larger company may be expected to be able to accommodate more adjustments than a smaller company for these reasons.

What are the different forms of discrimination?

There are six main types of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination – this is where an individual is treated differently as a result of their disability. An example of this is being dismissed because they are suffering from depression or they are refused a service because of their conditions
  • Indirect discrimination – this is where an employer or service provider has a policy or way of working that negatively impacts an individual because of their disability. An employer or service provider can negate this where this is a good reason for the policy and it is proportionate.
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments – please see earlier FAQs providing more detail on this.
  • Discrimination arising from a disability – this covers unfair treatment for something connected to a person’s disability. An example of this is refusing a bonus for someone who has had to attend medical appointments relating to their disability or refusal by an organisation to communicate by telephone rather than in writing with their customers which has been requested as a result of their disability.
  • Harassment – where a person is treated in a way that makes them feel humiliated and degraded as a result of their disability. This includes regularly being called names by colleagues relating to a disability or a service provider’s employee passing comment as to a customer’s physical capabilities where they have mobility disabilities. An organisation must show they have done everything they could to prevent the harassment taking place.
  • Victimisation – where a person is treated differently for making a complaint of discrimination. This extends to those who report the discrimination who may not necessarily be the subject of the treatment. An example of this is where a colleague supports a discrimination claim and is threatened with dismissal as a result or a tenant raises a complaint of disability discrimination with their landlord and all support and assistance is therefore withdrawn.

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Recently settled disability discrimination claims

We acted on behalf of a client in raising a claim for constructive dismissal and disability discrimination claim arising out of a failure to make reasonable adjustments to assist her in the workplace.  We were successful in being able to reinstate an offer that had been withdrawn and increase this offer to the satisfaction of the client. We did all this on a “no win, no fee” basis with the client securing compensation without the worry of paying any fees in advance.

We acted on behalf of a Client who raised allegations of disability discrimination, harassment and failures to make reasonable adjustments in the course of their housing tenancy.

Our client was dismissed by her employer due to requiring time off work as a result of her condition, which amounted to a disability. We assisted our client in successfully pursuing a disability discrimination claim against her former employer, which included claims for unfair dismissal and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

Our client requested the provision of reasonable adjustments from her employer to enable her to fulfil her duties, which they delayed in doing so. We assisted our client in pursuing a disability discrimination claim and were successful in achieving a significant monetary settlement for the delay and detriment suffered as a result, whilst preserving her continued  employment.

Our client was successful in achieving a monetary settlement which provided for a claim for injury to feelings and loss of earnings following a claim for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

We successfully acted on behalf of a student who had not been provided with the reasonable adjustments required to be provided by his university to enable him to effectively study.

We were instructed by a service provider in successfully bringing a claim of disability discrimination relating to the wearing of facemasks on their premises during the Covid 19 pandemic to an end.

We acted on behalf of an employee in respect of a claim for disability discrimination, including a failure to make reasonable adjustments. Due to the nature and extent of the employer’s failings, our client felt their position had become untenable and did not wish to remain in employment. We were instructed under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement to negotiate the client out of their employment under a settlement agreement. In addition to our client’s notice and holiday pay, we were able to negotiate compensation in excess of £17,000 in respect of the disability discrimination our client had been exposed to, and their loss of employment.

We acted for a leisure provider who was alleged to have perpetrated discrimination in respect of their refusal to allow children with specific conditions to use their play equipment due to their health and safety obligations.

We were instructed by a client who had already presented claims for disability discrimination and victimisation to an employment tribunal but was finding it difficult to manage the case themselves. The client had been dismissed and had been unable to find work since their dismissal. In these circumstances, we were able to assist the client under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement and negotiated a settlement in excess of £14,000, despite the fact that prior to our instruction, the employer had insisted it did not wish to engage in settlement discussions.

We secured compensation for our client after he was subject to disability discrimination when he was prohibited from using a public disabled toilet.

What clients say

"My disability discrimination case was successfully handled by Abigail. From the beginning she was very friendly and reassuring, listened carefully to all my concerns and diligently protected my interests at all times. Highly recommended."


Discrimination law staff reorder

  • Maria Chadwick
  • Rebecca Topping
  • Charlotte Brain
  • Abigail Martland
  • Kasey Hamer
  • Ambre Williams
  • Philip Richardson
  • Adam Pennington
  • Stephen Woodhouse
  • Terri Li