Legislation overview

The main piece of legislation governing disability discrimination in Great Britain is the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) which came into force on 1 October 2010 replacing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the numerous statutory instruments which amended and supported that Act.

These Q&As focus on the employment relationship and the duties owed by employers towards employees. However, disability discrimination is a vast subject area and extends far beyond the employment relationship, for example to duties owed by educational establishments and provision of services to the public. Under the Act, Parts 2 and 5 deal with employment matters, whereas other parts address other spheres. Part 3 deals with provision of services, goods or facilities or when exercising a public function, Part 4 deals with selling or letting or managing premises and Part 6 deals with education and so forth.

The Act is supplemented by a statutory Code of practice on employment law which may be used in evidence in legal proceedings brought under the Act. Employment tribunals take the code into account.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website also has a wide range of information on discrimination law, including disability discrimination.

Information on disability discrimination in Northern Ireland is available on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland website.

How does the Equality Act define disability?

Are recurring, varying or managed conditions 'disabilities'?

What are 'normal day-to-day activities' for the purposes of disability discrimination legislation?

Can an employer discriminate without knowledge of an employee's disability?

How do the disability discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010 affect recruitment?

What types of discrimination claim can a disabled employee or job applicant make against an employer?

Is it disability discrimination to ask applicants to complete a pre-employment medical questionnaire or medical check?

What adjustments are employers expected to make for a disabled employee?

How can an employer decide whether an adjustment for a disabled employee is reasonable?

Can an employer avoid reducing working hours for an employee with depression?

Is the duty to make reasonable adjustments the same for disabled employees and employees who are carers of disabled people?

Should employers treat disabled employees' absences differently in an absence policy?

Is it disability discrimination for an employer to reduce pay in a situation related to ill health absence?

Can a disabled employee be dismissed on the grounds of ill health?

What are the time limits for a disability discrimination claim?

What compensation is available for disability discrimination?

Q: How does the comparison work in disability discrimination claims?

Q: Is an employer vulnerable to disability discrimination claims if it does not accommodate an able bodied employee's need to care for a disabled family member?

Q: Can an employer dismiss an employee for misconduct if they have a disability?

Which employers are exempt from the disability discrimination legislation?

Future developments

Q: Does an overweight employee fall into the category of a disabled person?

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Disability Confident employer

The CIPD is a Disability Confident employer. We work with the DWP and lead the way in changing attitudes towards disability, and to encourage all employers to provide opportunities to ensure that people with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions are able to fulfil their potential at work. We regularly review our own people practices and approaches to ensure that our workplace is as open, diverse, accessible and inclusive as possible. 

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