Disability refers to someone who: 

  • has a physical or mental impairment
  • the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

The Equality Act 2010 definition replaces the similar provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.  The definition of disability not only refers to people who may be visibly disabled, for example those who are blind or have mobility difficulties, like wheelchair users.  It also includes a borad range of conditions like Depression, Diabetes, Dyslexia, Asperger's Syndrome, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV and Schizophrenia.

List of Capacities

The Act has removed the 'list of capacities' specified under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.  This implies that an individual is no longer required to demonstrate that, where an impairment adversely affects his or her ability to carry out a normal day-to-day activity, that activity involves one of a specified list of capacities.

Extended definition of Disability

The definition of 'disability' has been extended to also include people who have had a disability in the past.

Duty to make reasonable adjustments

Under previous legislation (Disability Discrimination Act), the duty to make reasonable adjustments applied only when it was 'impossible or unreasonably difficult' for a disabled person to work, study or use a service.  The condition of 'impossibility or unreasonable difficulty' has been replaced by 'substantial disadvantage'. The University has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people to pre-empt any substantial disadvantage in employment, study of provision of services.   

Discrimination Arising fom Disability

The Act introduces a new protection from discrimination arising from disability.  It is now prohibited to treat a disabled person unfavourably not because of the person's disability itself but because of something arising from, or in consequence of, the disability, such as the need to take a period of disability-related absence.  It is, however, possible to justify such treatment if it can be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.  For this type of discrimination to occur, the employer or other person must know, or reasonably be expected to know, that the disabled person has a disability.

Support and Useful Information

Support for disabled staff members is provided by the Disability Staff Network

Support for carers is provided by the Carers Staff Network

See the Equality and Diversity Policies and Information section for: 

  • Guidance for Line Managers on communications needs of Disabled Staff
  • Guidance for Managers on Supporting Disabled Staff
  • Disability Scheme and Action
  • Information Booklet for Carers