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The legal rules relating to disability discrimination in employment are set out in the Equality Act 2010. 

There are six different types of disability discrimination covered by the Equality Act 2010:

  1. Direct Discrimination: This happens when an employer treats someone less favourably just because they have a disability. This kind of discrimination can’t be justified or excused.
  2. Indirect Discrimination: This is when a rule or policy (called a provision, criterion or practice, or PCP) applies to everyone but puts people with a certain disability at a disadvantage. If an employer can show a good, necessary and proportionate reason for the rule, it can be justified.
  3. Discrimination Arising from Disability: This occurs when an employer treats a disabled employee unfairly because of something connected to their disability, and the employer can’t show that this treatment was justified. The employer must know, or should know, that the employee has a disability.
  4. Duty to Make Reasonable Adjustments: If a rule (PCP) or a physical feature of the workplace puts a disabled employee at a significant disadvantage compared to non-disabled people, the employer must take reasonable steps to remove that disadvantage. This duty comes into play if the employer knows, or should know, about the employee’s disability.
  5. Harassment on grounds of disability: This occurs where the employer engages in unwanted conduct related to disability. The conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the disabled employee’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the employee.
  6. Victimisation: This happens when an employer treats an employee badly because they’ve made a complaint about disability discrimination, or have helped someone else make a complaint.

An awareness of each of these different forms of discrimination is crucial for employers to make sure they understand the scope of protection afforded to disabled employees. 

Find out how we can help.  Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department.  Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].