Disability discrimination can be direct or indirect. Harassment is also discrimination.
Direct discrimination is when a disabled person is treated unfairly because of their impairment or condition.
your employer does not offer you a place on a training course because they think that it would be difficult for you to get there
a retailer does not offer you a service that they’re offering to non-disabled customers
Indirect discrimination is when an organisation makes a decision without considering disabled people that puts you at a disadvantage.
your employer has an inaccessible canteen
your bank wants you to go to a branch when your condition makes this hard or impossible
Harassment is when someone talks about disability in an offensive way or picks on you because you are disabled. If you complain about harassment and then unwanted attention is directed towards you, that is victimisation.
your employer makes negative remarks about disabled employees
someone in the street shouts offensive names at you as a disabled person
The Equality Act 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Act. It says that disabled people have the right to ‘reasonable adjustments’ that make jobs and services accessible to them. Access for disabled people is a legal requirement.
This applies to employers, public and private services. Some things such as transport are covered by specific regulations.
There is no set definition of 'reasonable' in the Equality Act. It depends on what you need, the situation and how much the adjustment might cost.
An adjustment can be physical, such as a ramp or hearing loop. Or it can mean changing the way people behave towards you, such as colleagues not covering their mouths when they are speaking if you lip read. Many adjustments cost very little and can have benefits for everyone. For example:
giving people who find noisy shopping environments difficult the chance to browse 30 minutes before a shop opens
By law, employers and people providing services should consider all disabled people’s requests for adjustments. If they think an adjustment is too costly or disruptive to be ‘reasonable’, they should be able to show why.
If possible, it’s best to warn a provider of a service, like a restaurant, if you need any adjustments, before you arrive. This makes it harder for them to say your request is unreasonable.
Schools should not treat disabled students unfavourably. This means that they are not allowed to:
refuse to admit a child because of their impairment or condition
discriminate against them by not meeting their needs
allow harassment or victimisation by teachers or students related to their condition
Schools must make 'reasonable adjustments' so that your child can study. Schools and nurseries have a legal duty to identify children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). They do this when your child starts school and throughout their school life.
Children with education, health and care (EHC) plans have more legal rights to the specific support.