#NQ6: Disability: Know your rights

Do I qualify as “disabled”?

The law says you are disabled if you have a long-standing condition which impacts on your ability to do everyday tasks.

My disability is not immediately obvious, am I still covered by the law?

Yes. The legal definition of disability includes conditions and illnesses that are hidden. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Mental health conditions including depression, bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorders and schizophrenia
  • Conditions such as dyslexia, autism and epilepsy
  • Progressive conditions such as arthritis or Motor Neurone Disease
  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma
  • People with cancer, Multiple Sclerosis or HIV as automatically considered disabled from the time of diagnosis

What is the legislation that covers me?

The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to treat someone less favourably because of their disability. This includes recruitment, access to staff benefits, grievance and disciplinary procedures.

The law also requires employers to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Reasonable adjustments remove a barrier preventing someone with a disability from doing their job. This may include installing a ramp, modification to equipment or adjusting working hours. These adjustments must enable the worker to carry out the job and be deemed “reasonable” for the employer to do.

How do I get reasonable adjustments at work?

  • Speak to a Napo rep explaining the difficulties you are having doing your job and what adjustments would overcome them. If you are already involved in procedures like sickness absence or capability as a result of your condition, it is vital you tell your Napo rep as those procedures are also subject to reasonable adjustments.
  •  Your Napo rep will organise a meeting with your manager where you will have to disclose your condition. Make sure that any adjustments you agree with your manager is fit for purpose.
  • Remind your employer that the Access to Work Scheme (www.gov.uk/access-to-work) offers financial support for reasonable adjustments
  • You may have to provide medical evidence of your disability and be referred Occupational Health.

If your employer still refuses to make the adjustments, you have a case to take them to tribunal, but you will need to exhaust all of their internal procedures such as grievance etc.

Your Napo rep will be able to support you through the entire process including any deadlines for submitting a claim.

If you need help with or further advice, contact your branch or email info@napo.org.uk

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