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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.


Sometimes people who have mental health problems are treated unfavourably because of their mental health condition. This is called discrimination. If you experience it, you may have a legal right to challenge it.

Quick facts

  • The Equality Act 2010 is the law that gives you the right to challenge discrimination.
  • To get protection under the Equality Act, you usually have to show that your mental health problem is a disability. 'Disability' has a special meaning under the Act.
  • The Equality Act protects you from discrimination when you:
    • Buy, rent or live in property
    • Use services, for example shops or insurance companies
    • Use public functions, for example policing or benefits
    • Are in education, for example at a college or university
    • Join some private clubs and associations
    • Are at work, applying for a job, made redundant or dismissed (see our pages on discrimination at work to learn more about this)
  • Public authorities have an extra duty to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. This is called the public sector equality duty.
  • There are short timescales for taking a legal claim if you believe that someone has discriminated against you. If you can, try to get legal advice before starting a claim.

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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