EQUALITY ACT 2010 (Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005)
This page within our website is aimed at giving you information on the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and how it affects you as CRPS/RSD and chronic pain sufferers on a day to day basis.
The purpose of bringing in the Equality Act 2010 was so it could bring together a number of existing laws into one place so that it is easier to use.
WHAT IS THE DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995/2005 (DDA)?The DDA was passed in 1995 and the idea behind it was to help disabled people with discrimination in their normal everyday lives. However you need to remember that you don’t actually have to be ‘disabled’ to come under the DDA. The Act also covers health problems such as diabetes, ME, arthritis, anxiety, depression, back problems... It also covers conditions if they affected your daily activities for example speech, hearing, eyesight, ability to move around, ability to lift, carry or move ordinary objects, physical co-ordination, memory… The Act was amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and in this changes were made which included an important change by creating a legal duty for all public authorities to encourage or publicise equality for disabilities. However… This act was repealed and replaced by the new EQUALITY ACT 2010 (UK except Northern Ireland.) Its basis is that there must be equal treatment in areas including disability, sexual orientation, race, marriage and civil partnership, age, religion or belief, sex and age. There also needs to be equal treatment in access to employment, public and private services. The concern for this website is really invisible disability which is what CRPS/RSD and chronic pain is. If you are still in work or are wanting to return to work and are seeking for a position then employers have the duty to make what is called reasonable adjustments in the workplace so disabled people are able to work, use the various facilities and get around the work place in ease. Reasonable adjustments simply means that your employer must try and lesson or get rid of any barriers that you face as a disabled person whether you are applying for a job or an employee already. As long as it is reasonable, you should have the same access to everything that concerns or affects doing your job or getting your job done just like everyone else who is not disabled.
EQUALITY ACT 2010The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t simply protect a number of people with visible disabilities. It can also protect large numbers of people with invisible or hidden as well as visible disabilities. It may also protect those with temporary, but long-term, injuries or ill-health, who would not normally think of themselves or be considered by others as having a disability. The Equality Act 2010 gathered together a large number of discrimination laws already written such as the Disability Discrimination laws. However there weren’t a huge number of changes actually made. The laws on Indirect Discrimination was extended to apply to disability for the first time as was the introduction of some new provisions such as the prohibition on discrimination arising from disability. Under the Equality Act 2010 people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any of the protected characteristics as listed below. There is also protection against discrimination where someone is perceived to have one of the protected characteristics or where they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic. Everyone in Britain is protected by the Equality Act 2010 and the ‘protected characteristics’ under the Act are (in alphabetical order):
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation
- Access to goods, services and facilities
- Qualification bodies and trade organisations
- Buying, management or renting property or land
LEGAL DEFINITION OF DISABLED UNDER EQUALITY ACT 2010So what is the legal definition of a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010? The legal definition can be found under Section 6(1) of the Equality Act 2010 and it states:
“A person (P) has a disability if (a) P has a physical or mental impairment, and (b) the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”Act defines long-term in this context as having lasted, or being likely to last for at least 12 months or the rest of the person’s life. ‘Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial. ‘Impairment’ covers, for example, long-term medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes, and fluctuating or progressive conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Motor Neuron disease. A mental impairment includes mental health conditions (such as bipolar disorder or depression), learning difficulties (such as dyslexia) and learning disabilities (such as autism and Down’s syndrome). Some people, including those with cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS, are automatically protected as disabled people by the Equality Act 2010. People with severe disfigurement will be protected as disabled without needing to show that it has a substantial adverse effect on day-today activities. Schedule 1 part 1 provides guidance and you can get further clarification and information under the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010, SI No. 2128 and in the Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of ‘disability’. This is available on the EHRC website.
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION UNDER EQUALITY ACT 2010There are several forms of disability discrimination under the new Equality Act 2010 which include: 1: Failure to make reasonable adjustments This is at the heart of disability discrimination law under the Equality Act 2010. Where any workplace practice or feature of the premises puts a disabled worker at a disadvantage, then the employer must make all adjustments which are reasonable to remove that disadvantage to the disabled worker. 2a: Direct discrimination It is unlawful for an employer to treat the employee less favourably just because of their disability than s/he treats or would treat a person without that disability. Provided the reason for the different treatment is the person’s disability, there is no defence. This concept is equivalent to that of direct discrimination because of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion and belief under the Equality Act 2010. It is not disability discrimination against a non-disabled employee to treat a disabled worker more favourably because of their disability.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT QUESTIONSUnder Section 60 of the Equality Quality Act 2010 there are only certain questions you are allowed to ask in regard to disability and reasonable adjustments.
- You can ask questions about disability at an early stage in the application process, so that you can establish whether an applicant will be able to comply with a requirement to undergo an assessment test, or to establish whether you must make reasonable adjustments for an applicant in relation to an assessment. For example, if you require applicants to sit an assessment on a desktop computer you can ask if they are able to do that or whether they require any auxilliary aids to do so (if they can be reasonably provided).
- You can ask questions about whether the applicant will be able to carry out functions that are intrinsic to the job (having made any reasonable adjustments), for example, whether an applicant has the necessary physical capabilities or physical fitness to do the job, or whether their health meets certain standards for legitimate safety reasons.
- You can also ask questions about disability in other limited situations, for example, for legitimate monitoring of the diversity of job applicants or if you need someone with a specific disability to do the job.
- But aside from those circumstances you can’t ask questions about the health of an applicant before offering him or her the job.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Learn more about the Equality Act & adjustments www.burningnightscrps.org/crpsrsd/disability/equality-act-2010/ [/Tweet]
REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS FOR DISABLED PEOPLEService providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers and employees. There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure of a building to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format, an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service). Reasonable changes are required wherever disabled customers or potential customers would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage compared with non-disabled people. A substantial disadvantage is more than a minor or trivial disadvantage. Service providers cannot charge disabled customers for reasonable adjustments. What is reasonable will depend on all the circumstances, including the cost of an adjustment, the potential benefit it might bring to other customers (ramps and automatic doors benefit customers with small children or heavy luggage, for example), the resources an organisation has and how practical the changes are. The Equality Act 2010 requires that service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people. In doing this, it is a good idea to consider the range of disabilities that your actual or potential service users might have. You should not wait until a disabled person experiences difficulties using a service, as this may make it too late to make the necessary adjustment. (Government Equalities Commission)
ACCESSIBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE for INVISIBLE ILLNESSThere is a good article by the Pain Doctor (27 May 2015 – ‘Accessibility For Invisible Illnesses in the Workplace) they wrote about accessibility issues in the workplace for invisible illnesses such as CRPS/RSD and chronic pain. The article gives some good and easy ways that employers can help invisible illness sufferers, they suggest:
Encourage breaks Creating break rooms Knowing the law Offering tele-commuting options for employees
Talk to your employer Know the law Take care of yourself on the job Do your best Work from home
WHEN DOES THE REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS APPLY?The duty to make reasonable adjustments arises in 3 (three) situations:
- where a provision, criterion or practice applied by or on behalf of the employer
- where a physical feature of premises occupied by an employer, or
- where the lack of an auxiliary aid
ARE YOU A CARER OF A DISABLED PERSON? EQUALITY ACT 2010 AND CARERSThe Equality Act 2010 now protects you as a carer of a disabled or elderly person. If you’re looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, the law will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities.This is because you’re counted as being ‘associated’ with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability. You’re already protected from discrimination and harassment if they happen at work, but the new law will also protect you, if you are caring for a disabled person:
- when you shop for goods
- when you ask for services
- when you get services
- when you use facilities like public transport
DIRECT DISCRIMINATION AS A CARERDirect discrimination This is where you’re treated less favourably than someone else because you’re caring for an elderly or disabled person.At work this could include your employer:
- refusing to offer you a job because of your caring responsibilities
- treating you less favourably because of your caring responsibilities
- discouraging you from using a service because you care for someone who is disabled
- making it impossible for you to use a facility because you look after someone who is disabled
- providing you with a worse service than someone else who isn’t caring for a disabled person
HARASSMENT AS A CARER OF A DISABLED PERSONThe new Equality Act 2010 will protect you from harassment because you’re looking after an elderly or disabled person. Harassment is unwanted behaviour related to, for example, disability or age. It hurts your pride or creates an intimidating, degrading or offensive environment for you. It might be deliberate but it doesn’t have to be. Someone could be harassing you even if they don’t mean to or don’t realise they are doing so. It’s already against the law to harass you at work but it will also be against the law to harass you when you buy goods or get services if you are caring for a disabled person. If you’re caring for an elderly person, the new law will only protect you at work until more new parts of the law come into effect later.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE CARERS’ SECTIONThere are as always exceptions to the Equality Act 2010 under the carers section. If you were disabled yourself, you’d have the right to have reasonable changes made so you could use services and facilities or go to work.This doesn’t apply to people associated with disabled people so it won’t apply to you as a carer. However, as a carer you already have the right to ask for flexible working hours so that you can fit in your caring responsibilities with your work. Carers’ Section of Equality Act 2010 taken from Government Equalities Office Quick start guide for carers.
DISCRIMINATIONAccording to ACAS (See below for full details) the main points within the Equality Act 2010 are the following:
- Provides disabled people with protection from discrimination in the work place
- Employers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a worker with a disability
- Disabled employees are protected from harassment at work
- Employers should have polices in place to prevent discrimination
Each country have their own laws and issues on disability discrimination, however within this page ‘Equality Act 2010’ it is concerning the United Kingdom.
CITED WEBSITES / ARTICLES
- ACAS (Update 2015) ‘Disability Discrimination‘ ACAS website. Available from: <http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1859>
- Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘Equality Act 2010,’ EHRC website. Accessed 11/08/2016. Available from:< https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/equality-act-2010>
- Government Equalities Office ‘Equality Act 2010: Duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments for their staff,’ Government Equalities Office website. Available from: <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/138118/Equality_Act_2010_-_Duty_on_employers_to_make_reasonable_adjustments_for….pdf>
- Government Equalities Office ‘Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know as a carer?’ Government Equalities Office website quick start guides. Available from: < https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85016/carers.pdf>
- Government Equalities Office ‘Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? Disability Quick start guide,’ Government Equalities Office website. Available from: < https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85011/disability.pdf>
- Pain Doctor 27 May 2015 ‘Accessibility For Invisible Illnesses in the Workplace Pain Doctor website.Available from: <https://paindoctor.com/accessibility-for-invisible-illnesses-in-the-workplace/>
- Pain Doctor 6th September 2015 ‘How can I get reasonable accommodations for chronic pain?’ Pain Doctor website. Available from: <https://paindoctor.com/how-can-i-get-reasonable-accommodations-for-chronic-pain/?utm_source=PainDoctor.com+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4c034c0495-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_abdd16ec01-4c034c0495-113808837>
- Unison (2014) ‘Proving Disability and Reasonable Adjustments,’ Unison website document. October 2014. Available from: <https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2014/12/TowebProving-disability-and-reasonable-adjustments-ed5-Oct-142.pdf>