Disability Discrimination Solicitors UK Employment Tribunal Compensation Claims

SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0344 414 0018

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which has now been superseded by the Equality Act 2010 gave disabled people legal rights in the areas of buying or renting land or property, access to goods, facilities and services and in regards to fair treatment whilst in employment. These legal rights can be enforced by a disability discrimination solicitor in either the civil courts or in the Employment Tribunal.

Under the legislation, a disabled person is defined as someone with "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". There is statutory guidance on matters relating to the definition of disability which can be purchased from HMSO (Her Majestys Stationary Office) Books.

The employment provisions within the legislation apply to employers and include the requirement that employers must consider making reasonable structural changes to premises that they occupy to cater for the disabled, failure of which may result in an application by a disabled person for compensation in the Employment Tribunal.

An employer can unlawfully discriminate against a disabled employee or job applicant in the following two ways:

  1. by treating a disabled person, without reasonable justification, less favourably than other employees or job applicants because of disability.
  2. by not making, without justification, reasonable adjustments.

Equal Opportunities

The Disability Discrimination Act 1996 gave legal rights to those suffering from physical or mental disabilities within the sphere of employment. The intention of the legislation was to grant those with disabilities both fair treatment and the right to equal employment opportunities. Under the legislation disabled people have statutory protection from unfair treatment if they suffer from a mental or physical impairment which has a long-term or permanent effect on their ability to engage in the normal activities of day-to-day life. This definition covers a wide range of conditions which may have permanent or long term effects. Impairments that have an effect or have been determined to have an effect on the individual's capacity to do regular or routine functions include :

  • mobility
  • use of hands
  • physical bearing
  • speech, hearing or eyesight
  • memory
  • the skill of concentrating, learning or understanding
  • the capacity to lift typical objects in the work, which includes carrying or moving
  • continence (control of bladder or bowel movements)
  • being capable of observing physical danger

Code of Conduct

There is a code of practice published by HMSO called "Elimination of discrimination in the field of employment against disabled person or persons who have had a disability" which gives guidelines for employers on the recommended provisions for the employment of disabled persons as well as practical guidance on the work of trade unions to avoid discrimination against disabled employees.

New regulations were published in October 1994 that require changes to be made to the physical structure of business establishments. These regulations are outlined in the HMSO publication "Code of Practice - Rights of Access, Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises" which is aimed at businesses and service providers whose premises discourage disabled people due to difficult or impossible access arrangements.

Disability Harassment

Disability harassment occurs when a person engages in unwanted conduct related to a disability with the effect of violating the disabled person's dignity or by creating an intimidating, hostile degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the victim by remarks or conduct. Whilst harassment usually consists of ongoing offensive behaviour, just one serious incident is sufficient for a complaint to be made and it is not necessary for the victim to complain on every occasion that there is offensive behaviour.

In cases of disability harassment an employer can be held liable for acts by a worker's colleagues (or managers) or by customers or suppliers if the employer fails to take reasonable action once the issue is brought to their attention and events outside work may also be covered by the provisions of the Equality Act which is supplemented by the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act.

It is not necessary for the offender to mean to cause offense and the mere 'banter' excuse is not sufficient to protect the perpetrator, who will be held liable in the Employment Tribunal or in the civil court if the victim is offended by their words or conduct. Case law has dictated that those victims who are hypersensitive to remarks that can be misinterpreted will not be covered by the statutory provisions. Whilst the test on the face of it appears to be subjective this has now been tempered by case law to be an objective test although the victim's interpretation of the questionable words of behaviour is taken into account.

Disability Discrimination Solicitors

If you believe you have a claim, it is important to get advice from an employment solicitor specialising in the field of disability discrimination. If you would like advice from one of our disability discrimination solicitors just email our offices or send the contact form or telephone us on our helpline for a initial consultation at no cost. If you have a viable case it will be dealt with using a risk free no win no fee arrangement. This means that if you don't get paid then your solicitor also doesn't get paid. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. Taking legal action in this way is totally without risk.

SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0344 414 0018