According to the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you ‘have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities’.
It’s actually not quite as clear cut as that due to different rules around fluctuating and long-term conditions (eg., arthritis) but this is currently the wording used to inform decision-making at a policy level. This covers many endogenous, mental health, developmental, congenital and trauma related disorders and conditions, from a learning disability to depression; MS to heart failure; a hearing impairment to Crones Disease.
For many employers, disability principally throws forward questions of physical access, eg, whether or not a wheelchair user can get into a building. Access is far far wider than that! Disabled people have a right to live with dignity, respect and choices in how they access education, transport, housing, employment – basically everything that one needs to enjoy an independent life.
Still, a lack of understanding on what constitutes a disability can leave employees with deteriorating conditions in their vision, mobility, memory retention, etc in a very frightening place.
For many employers, disability principally throws forward questions of physical access, eg, whether or not a wheelchair user can get into a building. Access is far far wider than that!
Employers with a broader understanding of disability, access and equality may be better equipped to work with their employees to find mutually beneficial solutions and to provide a more equitable working environment going forward.
If you think this could be you, please contact us to find out more about the support and training available to help you get there.
If this is already you, we would like to hear from you! We are seeking Workplace Equality Champions in the Private and Public Sector.