We all deserve respect at work, and the opportunity to make the most of our talents. But many disabled people face barriers to finding jobs and getting on at work.

Discrimination against disabled job applicants and workers is against the law. And the laws that protect disabled people from discrimination in the workplace apply to both mental and physical conditions.

As a disabled worker, you shouldn’t be required to meet criteria that you would find much harder than a non-disabled person, or that you can’t achieve. Your employer must also make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to prevent you being substantially disadvantaged at work.

And you should never face harassment or bullying because of your disability.

The law is also there to protect you from bullying because you associate with someone who has a disability, for example if you are harassed because you need time off to care for a disabled child or partner. 

There may be some jobs you cannot do even if the employer makes adaptations to take account of your disability.

For example, someone with a long-term back condition may not be able to do a job that requires strenuous manual labour. As long as the employer acts reasonably and is clear about the job requirements, they are unlikely to break the law if they don’t hire you.

If you feel you’re experiencing discrimination, you can take action to enforce your rights.

Very often, the best way to solve problems is to join with co-workers – preferably through a union - and try to reach an agreement with your employers on how to make the workplace more accessible and fairer for everyone. 

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
How am I protected against disability discrimination?
The disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010 prohibit employers from treating workers less favourably than others on account of their disability. Disabled workers are also protected from being required to meet criteria which they cannot achieve, or which they would find much harder to meet than a non-disabled person, unless the criteria are objectively justified.
What are 'reasonable adjustments'?
Typical adjustments include allowing the person during working hours for medical treatment, acquiring or modifying equipment, altering the disabled person's working hours, making adjustments to premises, such as improving access, providing a reader or interpreter or providing support workers.
Am I entitled to time off to adjust to my disability?
Some unions have negotiated special 'disability leave' for employees. The aim of disability leave is to give time and job security to newly disabled employees. The leave allows you to assess whether you would be able to resume work following adaptations to the premises or to your workstation, by learning new skills or by doing your job in different ways.