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This page gives a brief overview of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, details of good practice in relation to it, and links to further information.
The Equality Act defines a 'disabled person' as an individual with a 'physical (including sensory) impairment or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'.
Since 1 October 2007, three commissions have come together to form The Equality and Human Rights Commission (external site).
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Under the Equality Act, it is unlawful to treat people less favourably because of something connected with their disability.
Under the legislation the employer has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ if a disabled job applicant or employee is at a disadvantage in relation to others. The duty applies to both the physical features of the employer’s premises, e.g. fittings and equipment, and to all other aspects of employment including recruitment, training and retention.
If a disabled person has grounds to believe they have been discriminated against by their employer (also covered at the recruitment stage), they can take the organisation to an Employment Tribunal.
Disability discrimination also applies to the provision of goods and services, access to facilities, education and the buying or renting of property or land, all of which must be supplied in ways that so not discriminate against people with disabilities.
Read more on disabilities and non-discriminatory recruitment practices.
Section 60 of the Act states: 'Health Questionnaires should be designed to ensure that they only elicit information that is both relevant and necessary, this implies that they should be designed by health professionals. It also implies that they should be interpreted by those who are qualified to draw meaningful conclusions from the information supplied'.
Section 60 also states that employers are not allowed to ask about the health of the applicant before a job offer, unconditional or conditional, has been made. It will allow questions (at any time):
Questionnaires should be designed for the specific job role. So if an organisation employs multiple job roles, then questionnaires should be relevant to the job function. Only jobs where there are clear, explicit health criteria should result in pre-employment screening.
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An employer might consider some of the following options in employing people with disabilities:
More information on non-discriminatory recruitment practices for people with disabilities can be found in our Employability section under Discrimination - Legal Obligations on Employers.
For practical information on employment, disability and the access to work programme please contact the Disability Adviser at your local Job Centre Plus Office (external site).back to top
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