Disability discrimination at work solicitors

If you believe you have suffered disability discrimination at work, our employment solicitors can help.

It is against the law to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their disability. To make a disability discrimination claim, you need to meet the legal definition of a “disability” under the Equality Act 2010.

Your condition may meet the definition of a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that:

  • has lasted for at least 12 months, is likely to last for at least 12 months or is likely to last for the rest of your life
  • and has a substantial adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

Types of workplace disability discrimination:

Direct discrimination: When an employee is being treated unfavourably at work, because of their disability.

Indirect discrimination: When an employee is put at a disadvantage by workplace practices, because of their disability. For example, by insisting all employees must use the same computer screens and software, without making any provision for those who are visually impaired.

Discrimination arising from a disability: When an employer treats the disabled person unfavourably because of something arising from their disability. For example, if an employer dismisses someone due to disability-related absences and they cannot show that the treatment is proportionate. The employer has to have known, or be reasonably expected to know, about the disability.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments: When an employer has not taken reasonable steps to make adjustments to aid the disability. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances. Amongst other factors, the tribunal will look at the size and resources of the employer and whether the adjustment would be beneficial to the employee.

Unlawful victimisation: Individuals who speak up to assert their rights under the Equality Act 2010 run the potential risk that they will be treated badly in retaliation. Victimisation is when someone is treated detrimentally because they performed, or were believed to have performed, a ‘protected act’. Protected acts are bringing proceedings or making allegations under the Equality Act 2010 (either against the person now victimising or against anyone else) or giving evidence or information in connection with these proceedings.

Unlawful harassment: When someone is subjected to unwanted conduct because of one or more protected characteristics, such as disability. Unlawful harassment has the purpose or effect of violating the victim’s dignity or creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive to the victim.

Your employer has the right to request details of your disability at the recruitment stage, so that they can make adequate adjustments for your workspace if you get the job.

It is against the law in England and Wales to discriminate against an employee because of their disability. At the same time, it is not against the law to treat an employee favourably when making reasonable adjustments in relation to their disability.

I think I've been a victim of disability discrimination - what do I do?

If you believe you’ve suffered disability discrimination at work, you should attempt to resolve the issues informally with your employer. If this is unsuccessful, you should consider lodging a formal grievance with your employer without delay.

To pursue a disability discrimination claim in the tribunal, an employee must first go through early conciliation with ACAS, and arrange to lodge their claim at the tribunal. This usually has to be done within three months less one day of the discrimination (or the last in a series of discriminatory acts).

The time limit for lodging a claim is not extended because a grievance procedure is ongoing. It is important that you do not delay in getting legal advice, otherwise you could miss this deadline.

When you contact us with details of your disbility discrimination claim, an employment law solicitor can assess the facts of your case and talk you through your options. If you wish to instruct a solicitor, we can prepare a detailed report on the merits of your case and its prospects for settlement with your employer; either through ACAS or the employment tribunal.

Wherever you are with your workplace disability discrimination claim – whether you are thinking of starting a claim or in the middle of negotiations with your employer - we may be able to help you.

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Funding your employment law claim

We provide fixed fee employment law services. We can provide a 1 hour consultation with an employment solicitor for £240 (including VAT) or a comprehensive claims report for £450 (including VAT).

We also offer hourly rate services for more complex employment claims and funding through legal expenses insurance (LEI).

Find out more about our fees and how to fund your employment law claim.

Making a discrimination at work claim

To make a discrimination claim, it must relate to a protected characteristic and early conciliation must be started within 3 months, less one day, of the discrimination taking place. If this criteria hasn't been met, the tribunal is unlikely to have the power to hear your case and we’ll be unable to help with your case at this time.

About Co-op Legal Services

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.