Creating a fairer Britain
The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.
The rules about who is protected against unfair treatment under the DDA are very complicated. Some people with cancer, HIV and MS have had problems in the past showing that they are protected under the DDA. There have always been special rules for people with 'progressive conditions' such as these, but following changes to the law in 2005, they are now simpler and clearer. Anyone with cancer, MS or HIV is now protected against unfair treatment in the workplace, education, housing or in accessing services from the point of diagnosis. It doesn't matter whether you have any symptoms.
These changes have been made in recognition of the stigma that is often associated with a diagnosis of these conditions. The rules apply to all forms of cancer, regardless of whether or not they involve substantial treatment.
If you are treated unfairly because of a past disability for example because you had cancer in the past you are also protected under the DDA.
If you have a mental health problem, you no longer have to show you have a 'clinically well recognised' condition to qualify for protection under the DDA, although you do have to meet other conditions.
Lots of other people are protected under the DDA. If you have a different disability or health problem that affects your everyday life, a lot of the information here will be helpful to you.
No one should discriminate against you unlawfully because of a past (or current) disability.
If you have had a disability (as defined in the DDA) and someone, such as an employer, treats you unfairly as a result of this, then you will still be protected by the DDA, even if you have now recovered.
Saira had clinical depression for two years after the birth of her child. She applied for a job as a senior HR manager. On the medical questionnaire, she declared the period of depression and stated truthfully that this had occurred four years previously. After being offered the job subject to references and medical clearance, the offer was withdrawn. On questioning, the employer said that the job was âÂÂÂÂhigh pressure' and they were concerned that it might cause a recurrence of her condition.
This is discrimination against Saira because of her past disability, and the employer may be liable to legal action under the DDA.
The DDA does not require you to tell anyone. But if you don't tell your employer, for example, they won't be able to make any 'reasonable adjustments' you require. It's probably best to let them know at the outset such as once you have accepted a job, because if they find out later, by accident, it could affect your working relationship with them. We know this can be worrying we are encouraging employers to be positive about disability so people feel more comfortable disclosing a health condition or impairment.
There are some advantages to disclosure. Say you apply for a college course and you tell the institution about your condition on the application form. From that point on, they should bear that in mind for example, if they ask you for interview they should ask you if you need any reasonable adjustments to get to and take part in the interview. If they don't make any adjustments and you make a complaint about this, they can't use the excuse of ignorance.
Declaring a disability can sometimes be difficult for many different reasons:
All of these and many more may be real fears. But it is important to remember that statistics show that disability is increasingly common: one in four people either has a disability or health condition, or is close to someone who does.
It's up to you whether or not to declare your disability or health condition to your employer, although not everyone has the choice. If you do decide to declare it, you can do so at any of the following stages:
For the most part, it is best to be honest in work about your health or disability and what you need. Sometimes problems are created if this is a no-go area. Many people have experience directly, or through their family, of health conditions and disability. You can talk to your employer when the time seems right perhaps once you have a job offer or during a regular review, if you are in work and your health condition or disability begins to have a bigger effect on you.
Yes, it may be the best thing to do. If you decide not to tell, and your child is discriminated against, the school may be able to claim in its defence that it did not know about the disability. Schools are advised to ask if your child has a disability when he or she starts school.