Disability Discrimination

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It is important for individuals with a disability to be aware of their rights at work and for employers to understand their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure a fair and inclusive workplace.

Have you been treated unfairly by an employer due to a disability?

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For no-obligation advice and information, call our specialist employment solicitors on 01642 843 667 or use our contact form, and we will call you back.

What Is Disability Discrimination?

Disability Discrimination refers to mistreating someone unfairly or unfavourable due to their disability or perceived disability. Discrimination may arise from intentional actions, unintentional actions, or a consistent pattern of behaviour by your employer or colleagues.

What Are The Different Forms Of Disability Discrimination?

Disability Discrimination can take different forms, such as:

  • Direct Discrimination

Direct Discrimination occurs when a person with a disability is treated less favourably than people without disabilities in similar circumstances. For example, not hiring a qualified candidate solely because of their disability would be considered direct discrimination.

  • Indirect Discrimination

Indirect Discrimination happens when a rule, policy, or practice (defined in The Equality Act 2010 as a “provision, criterion or practice”) applies to everyone but puts individuals with disabilities at a disadvantage. For instance, an employer enforces a mandatory work schedule that disproportionately affects employees with certain disabilities.

  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments

Employers have a legal obligation to provide the support required for you to do your job properly or need to apply for a job. For example, supplying adapted equipment, making adaptations to the workplace or in relation to a provision, criterion or practice making reasonable adjustments such as for shift workers allowing a disabled person to work flexibly.

  • Harassment

Disability-based harassment involves unwanted behaviour that is offensive, intimidating or creates a hostile environment for individuals with disabilities. For instance, offensive jokes, comments and verbal or physical abuse.

  • Victimisation

Victimisation occurs when individuals experience negative treatment or retaliation as a result of making a complaint or raising concerns about disability discrimination, or supporting others who have made such complaints. For instance, an employer may issue threats of termination if an employee supports a colleague’s discrimination claim.

What Is The Process For Making A Disability Discrimination Claim?

When making a disability discrimination claim, your first step should be to raise any concerns with your employer to allow them to resolve the issue. However, if your employer doesn’t resolve the issue, you should begin the formal grievance process.

There are strict time limits that apply in The Equality Act 2010 to make claims to an Employment Tribunal which means that most claims have to be made within 3 months of a detriment taking place, this is the unfair or less favourable treatment by the employer. 

Please note that the grievance process does not stop the time limit for making a claim to an Employment Tribunal, therefore, if someone makes derogatory comments to you because of a protected characteristic, such as your race or disability, and you do not start ACAS Early Conciliation within the 3 months less 1 day time period, your claim may be out of time. 

The Employment Tribunal have the discretion to extend the time limit if there is a sequence of events and the time limit begins on the date of the last detriment and in certain circumstances, the Employment Tribunal have the discretion to extend the time limit if it is just and equitable to do so, for example if you are suffering from ill health and you are unable to take the necessary steps or to seek advice.  However, it is always best not to rely on the Employment Tribunal’s discretion to extend time but to make the claim in time.  We advise that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity, even before or during the grievance process.  It is a common tactic for employers to delay the grievance process for more than 3 months so that the time limit is missed

If you find that the formal grievance process doesn’t provide a satisfactory resolution, it may be time to consider taking your case to the Employment Tribunal. The first step in this process is to initiate ACAS early conciliation.

ACAS offers assistance in settling disputes between employees and employers without going to Employment Tribunal. The early conciliation process typically lasts about six weeks. At the conclusion of the ACAS early conciliation process, you will receive an ACAS certificate.

If your dispute remains unresolved at this point, you have the option to file a claim with the Employment Tribunal. You will need to submit your claim, and a copy will be sent to your employer, who will then have 30 days to provide their defence.

The Employment Tribunal will subsequently set a date for a full hearing, usually scheduled within six to nine months. Throughout this period, we will work closely with you, assisting in preparing your case and providing guidance every step of the way.

The Employment Tribunal process can be lengthy and stressful, but our experienced team has navigated this process numerous times before and will offer the necessary support and guidance to help alleviate the burden.

What Outcome Could You Recieve From An Employer?

If you experience disability discrimination in the workplace and pursue a legal claim, there are several potential outcomes that you could receive from your employer. These outcomes may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the remedies sought. The possible outcomes you could receive are:

  1. Compensation: If the employment tribunal determines that you have been a victim of disability discrimination, you may be awarded compensation. The compensation aims to provide financial redress for any loss, harm, or suffering caused by discrimination.
  2. Reasonable Adjustments: If your employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your disability, the tribunal may order them to implement those adjustments.
  3. Declaration or Recommendations: In certain situations, the Tribunal may make a declaration that the employer has unlawfully discriminated against the employee and may make recommendations to compel the employer to stop discriminatory practices or make systemic changes to prevent future discrimination, such as training managers and staff.

Contact Us Today

For more information about making a disability discrimination claim, you can call us on 01642 843 667; alternatively, complete our online contact form and one of our employment solicitors will be in touch.

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