If you are disabled and you have been discriminated against by your employer or a fellow employee in the workplace because of your disability then you the law allows you to claim compensation from your employer.
If you suffer with a disability then when it comes to recruiting, terms and conditions of contracts, promoting employees, dismissing employees and training employees you must be treated fairly against someone who is not disabled.
If you make a claim and are successful an employment tribunal will award you compensation and can also make a declaration of the rights you have and make recommendations as to what steps your employer should do to reduce the effect of the discrimination.
The Relevant Law
The relevant law to protect you against being discriminated in the workplace is the Equality Act 2010.
The Different Types of Disability Discrimination
The relevant law protects employees in the workplace against an employer discriminating on grounds of disability. The ways in which an employer could do this are:
- directly discriminate against an employee or job applicant by treating them less favourably than others because of their disability.
- discriminate against an employee or job applicant by treating them less favourably than because of something arising as a consequence of their disability without objectively being able to justify it.
- indirectly discriminate against an employee or job applicant by putting in place a provision, practice or criteria which puts disabled employees at a disadvantage to those employees who are not disabled without being able to objectively justify this.
- failing to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace where failing to do so will place a disabled job applicant or employee at a substantial disadvantage to those who are not disabled.
- harassing a job applicant or employee in relation to disability, or treating them less favourably because they rejected or submitted to the harassment.
- victimising/unfairly treating an employee who made or intend to make a complaint about disability discrimination or supported a complaint.
- Asking a job applicant pre- employment health questions other than for a prescribed reason.
The law only protects certain categories of individuals. The most obvious category is an employee is protected against disability discrimination. However, other individuals who are also protected include:
- Job applicants,
- Agency workers and other contract workers,
- Barristers and advocates,
- Those people on work experience placements,
- Office holders
- Those seeking or holding professional qualifications
- Members of a Trade Union
- Members of Local Authorities
To be considered an “employee” for the purposes of being able to make a claim you must have a contract of employment, a contract of apprenticeship, or a contract where you personally do the work for another individual. This contract can be in writing or orally.
Are you within the time limit?
To make a claim you must submit it to the Employment Tribunal within three months starting from when the date of when the discriminating act took place. If the discrimination has been ongoing for a certain period then the three months starts from the end of that period.
Therefore, you are entitled to bring a claim for disability discrimination if you are:
- an “employee” or fall into one of the above categories;
- you have been either:
- directly discriminated against because of your disability, or something which has arisen as a consequence of your disability;
- indirectly discriminated because of your disability;
- asked pre-employment health questions; or
- your employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments which leads to you being at a disadvantage in the workplace; and
- are within the three month time limit.