Support for disabled employees

What legal protection do I have as a disabled employee?

It’s unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled job applicant or employee less favourably because they are disabled.

It’s also important to know that employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ - to remove barriers that a disabled person encounters during their interview or employment.

If you’re interested in what the Equality Act 2010 contains in more detail you can find more information on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. 

I’m struggling with work due to my impairment. Does my employer have to help me?

Your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff members. This duty aims, as far as reasonable, to ensure disabled employees have the same access to everything they need for doing and keeping their job as a non-disabled employee. These reasonable adjustments apply to physical features of the premises, or any other aspect of the role which causes a substantial disadvantage to you, the disabled employee, compared to a non-disabled employee.

Employers also have a duty to provide you with additional aids where this would reduce or remove a substantial disadvantage. This includes providing information in accessible formats, such as easy-to-read or large print.

Many adjustments can be made at low or no cost to your employer. There is help out there to assess what adjustments may be necessary for you to do your job. What is reasonable for your employer to do depends on the size and nature of the organisation.

The government's Access to Work scheme can provide practical advice and support to help you overcome work-related issues. It can also give you grants towards extra employment costs.

It’s important to note that your employer only has a duty to provide reasonable adjustments if they are aware of or should reasonably be expected to be aware of your impairment.

If your employer does not provide you with reasonable adjustments and you can show that they could have removed barriers, then you may be able to bring a claim against your employer via an employment tribunal.

I think my employer is discriminating against me because I’m disabled. Who can I talk to?

If you think your employer is discriminating against you because you are disabled, you should contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

ACAS provides information, advice, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. You can call their helpline on 08457 47 47 47 for free and confidential advice. If you’re thinking about lodging an employment tribunal claim, you will need to contact ACAS.

If you think you’re being discriminated against then the best people to talk to would be the Equality and Human Rights Commission's helpline, called the Equality Advisory Support Service. Their number is 0808 800 0082. They are the experts in discrimination although they do not have the resources to give specific legal advice.

You can also call Scope’s free helpline on 0808 800 3333 if you feel you are being discriminated by your employer. Our opening hours are weekdays (except bank holidays) 9am to 5pm. 

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