Protected Characteristic - Disability

For over five decades there has been legislation around Disability. The Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 and 1958 aimed to improve the employment rights and opportunities of people with disabilities and impairments. More robust legislation was produced  under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which gave protection to persons with a disability defined under this act and covered employment, education, transport and the provision of goods, facilities, services, premises and the exercise of public functions. More recently under the Equality Act 2010 stronger protection for disabled people has been legislated for and also supports and protects people who are associated with a person who has a disability.

The Equality Act 2010 has also made the definition of disability much simpler. A person is disabled and protected from disability discrimination if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport.

An additional change is that the Equality Act 2010 extends protection to disabled people against indirect discrimination. This means that a particular rule or requirement that an employer may have in place can be claimed as disadvantageous to a person with a disability.

The Act also includes a new provision which makes it unlawful, except in special circumstances, to be asked about health questions and disability when applying for a position unless the post has been offered. An example of special circumstances could be that to do the job entailed a particular element of physical ability that the person may not be able to comply with.

Mersey Care NHS Trust is committed to equality and non discriminatory behaviour and in the area of disability it supports service users, carers and staff. Mersey Care NHS Trust is signed up to the Two Ticks Logo which requires the trust to comply with five commitments.   Membership of Mindful Employer has been taken up by Mersey Care NHS Trust and a copy of the Mindful Employer Line Managers Resource can be accessed here to help Managers support employees with mental health issues.

Useful Publications

"Making mental health service more accessible for learning disabled or autistic people"   
 'Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives'   The strategy for adults with autism in England (2010)

A Disability History Timeline "The struggle for equal rights though the ages"


Useful Websites

For more details of the Equality Act (2010) go to the following web site: 

Equality Act 2010

Return to Equality and Human Rights Page