What are my disability rights?

The protection against disability discrimination can be found in the Equality Act 2010. You have a number of different rights, which include the following:

  • You must not be treated less favourably than a non-disabled employee because of your disability. An example might be refusing to give you a customer-facing job because you have a facial disfigurement.
  • Your employer must make reasonable adjustments to help you access the workplace and do your job. An employer can never justify a failure to make reasonable adjustments. The phrase 'reasonable adjustments' has a wide meaning. Common adjustments might include:
    • reallocating duties;
    • altering hours or permitting work from home;
    • transferring a newly disabled person (or a person whose disability has worsened) into a more suitable existing vacancy;
    • providing extra training;
    • allowing time off for medical treatment;
    • relaxing workplace rules, e.g. allowing extra breaks or time away from the computer; or
    • modifying selection procedures, e.g. allowing more time to complete tests.
  • You must not be treated unfavourably because of your disability, unless that treatment can be justified. An employer who did not know (and could not reasonably be expected to have found out) about your disability has a defence to this kind of claim. An employer will not be able to justify unfavourable treatment relating to your disability unless it has already put in place all reasonable adjustments to help you do your job.
  • You must not suffer discrimination because you associate with someone who is disabled. For example, it is unlawful to harass you at work because you have a disabled child.
  • You must not suffer discrimination because an employer mistakenly thinks you are disabled, for example, if your employer treats you less favourably than other employees because of a mistaken belief that you are HIV-positive.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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