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.
What does ‘work’ include?
The idea of being at work or having a job can mean different things to different people. But in terms of legal rights, work only counts in specific ways.
- Applying for a job
- At work, including areas of working life such as:
- Your pay
- Your terms and conditions of employment
- Sickness absence
- Opportunities for training or other benefits
- Dismissed or fired, which includes redundancy
- A former employee or worker, in certain circumstances
The Equality Act can offer protection if you are:
- An employee
- An apprentice
- A contract worker
The Equality Act does not offer protection if you are an unpaid volunteer.
These are changes that:
- organisations and people providing services and public functions
- education providers like universities and colleges
- managers of properties like landlords
- clubs and associations
should make for you if you are at a major disadvantage because of your mental health problems and it is reasonable.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include:
- making changes to the way things are organised or done
- making changes to the built environment, or physical features like steps or doorways around you
- providing aids and services for you.
'Disability' has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act, which is broader than the usual way you might understand the word. The Equality Act says that you have a disability if you have an impairment that is either physical or mental and the impairment has a substantial, adverse and long term effect on your normal daily activities.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
There are many situations in which you may feel treated unfairly because of your disability, but the law only covers these types of discrimination:
- direct discrimination
- discrimination arising from disability
- indirect discrimination
- not complying with the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
In the UK, law that protects you from discrimination is called the Equality Act.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in November 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
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