The Equality Act 2010 says you mustn’t be discriminated against because of your disability.
Some conditions are automatically treated as a disability under the Equality Act. But if you don't have one of these conditions and you want to make a claim for disability discrimination, you will have to show the effect your condition has on your daily life to prove it's a disability.
Read this to find out more about the kinds of things you will have to show about your condition to prove it's a disability.
A disability is a physical or mental condition which has a long-term and substantial effect on your daily life.
The Equality Act says a disability is a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day- to-day activities.
Normal day-to-day activities are those carried out by most people on a regular basis.
To be considered a disability, your condition must have a substantial adverse effect on your daily life. This means it must have more than a minor effect. The condition doesn’t have to stop you from doing something completely, but it must make it more difficult. It may also be that you avoid doing certain things - for example, because they cause you a lot of pain or make you very tired.
You have ME. Your condition makes it very difficult for you to do many daily activities such as getting dressed, walking and concentrating because of the extreme exhaustion you experience.
You suffer from severe anxiety and agoraphobia. This means you avoid going outside as you often experience panic attacks when you’re in a public place.
In both these situations, it can be said that your condition has a substantial adverse effect on your daily life.
You may receive medical treatment for your condition or use aids, such as a prosthesis or hearing aid which make your condition better. If you're in this situation, your condition will still be considered as having a substantial effect if without the treatment or aid, it's still likely to have this effect.
Some conditions start out as having a minor effect on your daily life, but get worse over time. This kind of condition is called a progressive condition - for example, dementia and motor neurone disease. With conditions like this, it doesn't matter if it only has a minor effect now. It can still be treated as a disability as long as it's having some effect on your daily life now and it's likely to have a substantial effect in the future.
You've been diagnosed with dementia. Although the effects are quite minor at the moment, your condition is likely to get much worse in the future and have a substantial effect on your daily life. Your condition would be treated as a disability under the Equality Act.
If you have treatment for a progressive condition which makes you better, you may no longer be treated as disabled. If the treatment makes you completely well, you'll no longer be treated as disabled. But if the condition isn't completely cured and still has some effects, you will still be treated as disabled.
You must show the adverse effect your condition has on your life is long term. This means you must be in one of the following situations:
You may have a condition which later develops into another condition related to the first. If taken together, the adverse effects of these 2 related conditions last for more than 12 months, you will be considered as having a disability under the Equality Act.
Last year you suffered from an anxiety disorder which had a substantial effect on your daily life. It lasted for 7 months. This then developed into depression which also had a substantial effect on your daily life and lasted for 9 months. Together, these conditions had an adverse effect for more than 12 months, so are considered to be long term. You would therefore be treated as having a disability under the Equality Act.
Some conditions have effects which re-occur, or which come in episodes. If you have a condition like this, you’re treated as having a disability under the Equality Act, even if the adverse effects don’t last for more than 12 months at a time.
You have to show that the adverse effects are likely to come back again in the future. ME and depression are examples of recurring conditions.
You have inflammatory bowel disease. This is a chronic condition which comes in episodes. During one of your episodes you get severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea, which makes it very difficult for you to travel to work. The episode only lasts for a couple of weeks, but as it’s a chronic disease, it’s likely to happen again. Your condition would be treated as having a long-term effect.
If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.
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