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Discrimination at work

Some of us experience disability discrimination at work because of our mental health. Find out about the laws that protect us from discrimination, plus where to go for support and advice.

Overview of discrimination at work

Sometimes employers treat us worse or unfairly when we have mental health problems. This is called disability discrimination.

If you experience discrimination at work, you may have a legal right to challenge it.

Quick facts

  • The Equality Act 2010 is the law that gives us the right to challenge discrimination. This law may protect us from discrimination when we:
    • Are applying for a job, at work, made redundant or dismissed. Find out more about this over the next few pages.
    • Use services or public functions. Find out more about this in our pages on disability discrimination.
    • Buy, rent or live in property. Find out more about this in our pages on disability discrimination.
    • Are in full- or part-time education.
    • Join some private clubs and associations.
  • To get protection under the Equality Act, you usually need to show that your mental health problem is a disability. Disability has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act. To find out if your mental health problem is considered a disability, see our page on disability.
  • If your mental health problem is a disability and you want protection under the Equality Act, you'll probably have to tell your employer about it.
  • Generally, employers can't ask you questions about your mental health before they make a job offer, though there are some exceptions.
  • If you think you've experienced disability discrimination at work, there are things you can do to challenge the discrimination.
  • It's best to resolve disputes informally if you can. But if you cannot sort your problems informally or through formal grievance, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal. If you're successful, the tribunal can either:
    • Award you financial compensation – in other words, give you money.
    • Make a recommendation, such as asking your employer to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work.
    • Or the tribunal might even do both of the above. Find out more about what happens at an employment tribunal judgment.
  • If your work problems do not count as disability discrimination, you may still have other employment rights.

This information was published in November 2022. We will revise it in 2025.

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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