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Factsheet:

Disability and employment

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in November 2014.

What is disability?

Disability is defined in different ways for different purposes. In employment, the definition is contained within the Equality Act 2010: A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse affect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Long-term means that the condition must last, or be likely to last, for more than 12 months, or that it is terminal.

Individuals with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS are covered from the date of diagnosis regardless of the impact that the illness is having on their life at the time of diagnosis. Other examples of conditions covered have included chronic fatigue syndrome, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, dyslexia, severe nut allergies, eczema, depression and some cases of obesity. These are simply examples and many more categories may be included.

To be covered under the Act, a mental illness does not have to be clinically well recognised. The emphasis is on the impact of the symptoms rather than the label that has been attached to them.

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  • What is disability in an equality sense?
  • The legal position
  • Making reasonable adjustments
  • Pre-employment medical questionnaires
  • Challenging stereotypical thinking
  • CIPD viewpoint
  • Useful contacts
  • Further reading

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