Independent Lives has created guidance based on real-life scenarios that disabled people commonly experience. The guidance is intended to enable you to assert your rights and to help you to navigate through law and legislation.

It is specifically written about adult services and is for guidance only.

If you need legal advice, please contact a legal service.

Scenario: ‘I may be facing workplace discrimination based on my disability or mental health needs’

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your disability or mental health needs. You are protected under the Equality Act (2010) and Human Rights Act (1998) Article 14; prohibition of discrimination. Our discrimination guide also has information on ‘protected characteristics’.

You have the right to approach your employer about this. This can be done informally or you can raise a grievance.

For further guidance you should contact your HR department or ACAS.

Watch a video on workplace discrimination and protected characteristics (Credit: ACAS)

Is it harder for you to do your job because of your disability?

Under the Equality Act 2010 all employers have a duty to reduce the barriers that you face in employment because of your disability and to make reasonable adjustments.

This includes providing specially adapted equipment, alternative duties and flexible working hours, and you have the right to ask for these.

Sometimes it is not possible to make the adjustments needed, but as long as the employer has done everything they can, they are not discriminating. Read more about reasonable adjustments.

The Access to Work scheme can contribute towards funding for reasonable adjustments based on their assessment. The employee is required to make contact with Access to Work rather than the employer.

If reasonable adjustments are not made then you should speak to your HR department or contact ACAS.

If there is a genuine reason that relates to your impairment, which makes it difficult for you to follow company policy then this can be seen as indirect discrimination.

Example 1: Your role requires you to start working early in the morning, but this is more difficult for you due to fatigue or less mobility in the morning. The employer must prove there is a legitimate business need for the working hours to have an early start .

Example 2: I need to take time off for medical appointments and I’m not sure how my employer should record this absence. Time off to attend medical appointments does not have to be recorded as sickness if it relates to your impairment. Your employer can categorise this as ‘disability leave’, and this is classed as a reasonable adjustment.

Further resources