Updated April 2024: When considering if a worker is disabled or not for the purposes of being covered by the Equality Act 2010, Employers must consider the impact of any physical or mental impairment (disability) on the workers “ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. We look at all the details you need to know here.

We also look at:

  • The type of illnesses covered
  • How does an employer know if their worker is disabled
  • What is a reasonable adjustment
  • What happens during a redundancy situation
  • Managing Sickness Absence
  • Terms and Conditions of Employment
  • Associative discrimination:In a 2013 case an Employer was found to have committed disability discrimination by association, because they unfairly treated an employee because of their association with someone with a disability. In Price v Action-Tec Services, Mrs Price was a tele-sales executive who suffered from a degenerative disc disease, while her husband suffered from leukaemia. In March 2011 she accompanied her husband to hospital fro tests, which showed his prognosis was not good.Price returned to work the next day but the following week her GP signed her off sick for 7 days. On her return, the Manager responsible for recruitment and training said he would not have taken her on had he known about her husband’s illness. Price was dismissed the same day. The tribunal found this was direct disability discrimination because her dismissal was based on stereotypical assumptions that her and her husband’s disability would mean she was unreliable and under-perform.In Bainbridge v Atlas Ward Structures Ltd the same principal was demonstrated. The Tribunal found that the claimant’s fixed-term contract was not renewed “because he had on occasion taken leave at short notice” to care for his disabled wife “thereby causing the company some inconvenience”It would therefore be unlawful discrimination to refuse time off because the purpose of the leave is to care for a disabled dependant. The Equality Act does not though impose a duty on an employer to make reasonable adjustments for an employee who has responsibility as a carer for someone who is disabled (associative), and the Court of Appeal confirmed this in June 2014.

In May 2023 Acas issued new guidance and resources to help employers when handling reasonable adjustments relating to mental health, which you can see here

In April 2024 the Government with the CIPD re-issued a practical guide for line managers on recruiting, managing and developing people with a disability or health condition, which you can see here.


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