Disability Discrimination Lawyers


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More than 11 million people in the UK are living with a disability or serious long-term illness that limits their physical or cognitive abilities. These people often experience problems at work, either due to employers and co-workers treating them poorly or working conditions that cause them specific problems due to their disability or illness.

If you have experienced difficulties at work due to a disability or long-term illness, you may have been a victim of disability discrimination. This is illegal under the Equality Act 2010, meaning you can challenge your employer over these issues and may be able to take legal action if required.

We know how difficult these issues can be to deal with, including where you are uncertain whether discrimination has really taken place or feel intimidated by the idea of confronting your employer. However, if you believe you are being discriminated against due to your disability or illness, you have the right to raise these issues and get the support you need.

didlaw’s specialist disability discrimination lawyers have decades of experience supporting employees who have been treated unfairly at work due to disability or long-term illness. We can provide the empathetic, sensitive and highly effective legal guidance you need to make sure your employer meets their legal obligations and provides a fair working environment for you.

Get in touch with our friendly, expert disability discrimination lawyers now by calling 020 7099 7508, emailing us or using the contact form on the left to ask a question.

Our expertise in disability discrimination law

didlaw is the leading legal firm in the UK for disability discrimination. No other law firm focuses on disability in the way we do. This specialisation and the results we achieve for our clients are how we have built our exceptional reputation around our work.

Karen Jackson, Founder-Director of didlaw, is a recognised leader in disability discrimination. Karen is a Chambers ranked Lawyer for her work on disability, with the Law Society calling her an authority on the subject.

In recognition of Karen’s exceptional expertise, the Law Society commissioned her (along with barrister Lydia Banerjee) to literally write the book on disability discrimination law. Disability Discrimination: Law and Case Management was published in 2013, providing an important resource for employers, employees and other legal professionals. A second edition is due for publication in early 2019.

All of the lawyers working alongside Karen Jackson at didlaw are experienced specialists in disability and other forms of discrimination. Across our team, we have both the breadth and depth of expertise to quickly and effectively handle any aspect of disability discrimination.

While didlaw has an exceptional reputation for our technical legal skills around disability discrimination, we always keep the emphasis on the people we work with, as well as the legal challenges they are dealing with. By treating each client as an individual, getting to know your issues and expectations, we are able to offer the truly empathetic and supportive service you deserve.

Common questions about disability discrimination at work

What is a disability under the Equality Act 2010?

‘Disability’ is one of the ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the Equality Act 2010. This means it is illegal for an employer to treat an employee less favourably on the basis of a disability. However, people are often unsure what disabilities are covered under the Equality Act 2010.

The Act states:

“A person (P) has a disability if—

  1. P has a physical or mental impairment, and
  2. the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”

This definition means that what can be considered a disability under the Equality Act is open to interpretation, so it is essential to take specialist advice if you believe you may be suffering disability discrimination.

If you believe you are being disadvantaged at work due to a disability that may be covered by the Equality Act 2010, please get in touch with our disability discrimination lawyers and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

What is disability discrimination at work?

There are a number of ways an employer can discriminate against an employee who has a long-term medical condition which amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (which replaces the Disability Discrimination Act or the DDA as it is commonly known). Check out our brief guides.

Direct disability discrimination is when an employer or co-worker treats a disabled person in a less favourable way than someone who is not disabled. This might include excluding them from a promotion opportunity on the basis that they are not “up to the job”.

Indirect disability discrimination is where a policy, criterion or practice in the workplace unfairly disadvantages a disabled person.

Section 15 disability discrimination is about treating someone less favourably for a reason connected to disability: this might be about not paying a bonus when a disabled person is off sick or denying a person access to promotion.

Still the most common form of disability discrimination is failure by an employer to make the reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee that the law requires them to make.

Disability harassment and disability victimisation are other forms of disability discrimination.

What are examples of direct disability discrimination

Common examples of direct discrimination against disabled people include:

  • Not being hired for a job due to your disability
  • Not receiving a promotion due to your disability
  • Being refused training due to your disability
  • Being offered unfavourable terms of employment due to your disability
  • Being excluded from social activities due to your disability

Employers and co-workers will rarely tell you directly that your disability is the reason for these issues, so if you suspect you are being discriminated against because of your disability it is essential to have specialist legal advice to help you prove that you are being treated unfairly.

What are examples of indirect disability discrimination?

Common examples of indirect discrimination against disabled people include:

  • Being required to work in locations that are not accessible for you due to your disability
  • Being required to carry out duties that are made significantly more difficult or impossible due to your disability

It is important to note that employers may sometimes be able to justify indirect discrimination if they can show that they have a good business reason for the discrimination.

Indirect discrimination may sometimes be justifiable depending on the circumstances, including if:

  • It is required to protect the health and safety of employees
  • It would not be commercially viable to make the necessary adjustments for you

Our disability discrimination lawyers can advise you on whether your working conditions may meet the criteria for indirect discrimination and help to secure any necessary adjustments from your employer or support you in court action if required.

What are reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010?

Reasonable adjustments in the workplace are where your employer makes changes to remove or minimise any disadvantages you experience at work as a result of your disability.

Your employer is legally required to make these reasonable adjustments if you have a disability covered by the Equality Act.

Examples of reasonable adjustments for disabled workers that an employer might make include:

  • Providing an adapted keyboard for people with arthritis
  • Installing a ramp for a wheelchair user
  • Allowing someone to make a phased return to work after time off
  • Providing a designated parking space close to your workplace
  • Modifying performance targets to account for any limitations on the employee’s abilities

Is it possible for an employer to justify not making a reasonable adjustment?

There is no legal justification for an employer to avoid making reasonable adjustments for a disabled worker. However, there can sometimes be a question over what sort of adjustments are considered ‘reasonable’.

What changes an employer can reasonably be expected to make to accommodate a disabled employee will depend on the circumstances. Issues that will need to be considered include the type and severity of the employee’s disability, the specific difficulties the employee is facing, and the size and financial resources of the employer.

If you are a disabled employee or an employer with questions about reasonable adjustments in the workplace, please contact a member of our team.

Is depression a disability?

Depression and other mental health issues, such as anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, are a growing concern in many modern workplaces. The Equality Act 2010 makes specific provision for “mental impairment” as a type of disability, meaning depression and other mental health issues may be considered a disability, depending on the circumstances.

Our lawyers are experts in mental health discrimination, so will be happy to advise you of your options and represent you where required to ensure your mental health issues are respected and that you get the help and support you need from your employer.

Speak to our disability discrimination lawyers now

If you have a long-term health condition and things aren’t great for you at work, call us.

Not getting the support you need from your employer when returning to work after illness? Call us.

Being performance managed when really the issue is your health? Call us. We can help.

You can speak to our friendly, expert disability discrimination lawyers now by calling 020 7099 7508, emailing us or using the contact form at the top of the page to ask a question.