Disability and the Law

Created on: 07 Feb 2018 | Last modified: 19 Feb 2024

People with disabilities have the right to legal protections including the right to 'reasonable adjustments' which can enable them to access jobs, education and services as easily as non-disabled people. 

The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because:

  • Someone thinks you have a particular disability. This is known as discrimination by perception 
  • You are connected to someone with a disability. This is known as discrimination by association.

In the Equality Act a disability means a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day to day activities.

You are also covered by the Act if you have a progressive condition like HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis, even if you are currently able to carry out normal day to day activities.

You are protected as soon as you are diagnosed with a progressive condition.You are also covered by the Act if you had a disability in the past.For example, if you had a mental health condition in the past which lasted for over 12 months, but you have now recovered, you are still protected from discrimination because of that disability.

People with disabilities can face discrimination in the workplace but also barriers to finding and maintaining a career. People may not know that they can request 'reasonable adjustments'. 

How we can help

The EIS participates in a range of activities to promote disability equality, including participating in the STUC Disabled Workers’ Committee and sending a delegation to the annual STUC Disabled Workers' Conference. The EIS also considers disability equality issues at the Equality Committee.

EIS Equality Reps can advise on disability matters, and promote disability rights in their area. To find out more about Equality Reps click here.  

The EIS has produced a policy on 'Teaching and Disability' and detailed guidance for EIS representatives on 'Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace'.