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Disability discrimination

A general guide on how you are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act and what your rights are.

What is the Equality Act?

The Equality Act 2010 is the law that protects you from discrimination. It also gives you the right to challenge discrimination.

You're protected by the Equality Act if you have certain protected characteristics. Disability is one of these protected characteristics. Mental health problems may be considered a disability. 

What areas of my life are protected under the Equality Act?

The Equality Act protects you from discrimination when you:

  • Apply for work, when you're in a job, and when you leave it. There's more information on our pages on discrimination at work
  • Deal with organisations carrying out public functions such as tax collection and crime investigation
  • Are in education, including in school, college or university
  • Buy or rent property
  • Join some private clubs and associations
  • Use services such as shops, restaurants, hospitals, leisure centres, buses and trains. These could be free services, or services you pay for. It also covers services provided by private companies and services provided by government, local councils and charities

Organisations that are public authorities also have special legal obligations under the public sector equality duty.

Is my mental health problem covered?

You don't have to have a particular mental health condition to get protection under the Equality Act. And you don't need a diagnosis. But you will need to show that your mental health problem is a disability.

Mental health problems that could be covered under the Equality Act include:

This information was published in October 2023. We will revise it in 2026. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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