Illnesses Covered by The Disability Discrimination Act?

Disability discrimination occurs when someone is treated less well or placed in a disadvantageous position because of a reason that is related to their disability. Discriminatory treatment can be the application of a specific rule/policy or the existence of physical or communicative barriers that reduce the accessibility of something that is accessible to everyone else. For discriminatory treatment to be considered unlawful, it does not necessarily have to be intentional.

Types of disability discrimination

Discrimination can be categorised into various types and applications of discrimination. We will go through these below;

1. Direct discrimination 

A disabled person experiences this kind of discrimination when they are treated worse than someone who does not have a disablilty in the same situation. 

2. Indirect discrimination 

This happens when an employer has a specific way of working or a policy that has a heavier impact or is different for disabled persons. This kind of discrimination is considered unlawful unless the employer has a reason as to why they are using such a policy.

3. Failure to make reasonable adjustments

The equality act states that organisations and employers should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the ease of accessibility to various services and resources just as a person without disabilities would. 

4. Harassment

This occurs when someone is treated in a way that makes them feel humiliated, degraded, or offended. A good example of this is when an employee is frequently called names or sworn at within their place of work because of their disability. 

Harassment is never justifiable. However, you cannot sue an employer or organisation if they prove that they did everything they were capable of doing to prevent the harassment from taking place. Nonetheless, you are able to sue the harasser for bad treatment if this action is needed. 

5. Victimisation

Someone feels victimised when they are treated in a bad manner just because they made a discrimination complaint under the equality act. Victimisation can also occur when you support an individual that has filed a discrimination complaint. 

Here are some good examples:

  •   An employer threatens to dismiss a disabled employee if they fail to withdraw their disability discrimination complaint. 
  •   An employer threatens to sack an employee because they think that the employee is supporting their colleague’s complaint of discrimination. 

What counts as a disability?

Most people think that some conditions such as autism and others are not covered under the equality act, but the truth is that they are. According to section 6 of the 2010 equality act, someone is disabled if:

  •   They have a mental or physical impairment
  •   The individual’s impairment has for a long time had an adverse effect on their ability to carry out daily activities

There are some impairments that are automatically recognised as disabilities. These impairments include but may not be limited to:

  •   Cancer (growths must be removed before they become cancerous)
  •   HIV infection (even without any symptoms)
  •   Multiple sclerosis
  •   A visual impairment (someone who is certified as blind, sight impaired, severely sight impaired, or partially sighted) 
  •   Long-term disfigurements that are severe, such as skin disease or severe facial scarring


The above is everything you need to know about the 2010 equality act and how it covers those with disabilities. It is recommended that you seek professional assistance if you are not sure whether your impairment is long term or substantial. That way, you can come up with a plan that should make it easier to live a comfortable life.

If you would like to find out more about disability discrimination or you have been involved in discrimination, get in contact with Oxford Employment Law Solicitors and see how we can help you. To contact them visit their contact page or phone on 01865 487 136.

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