Disability refers to someone who has a physical, sensory or learning impairment which is long term and has an adverse affect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. This also includes people with progressive or degenerative illnesses such as cancer, HIV and MS.


Great Britain

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person is protected from the point of diagnosis. The Act  also creates a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people where they would be at a substantial disadvantage if the adjustments were not made. This includes making adjustments to criterion, requirements and practices, as well as physical features such as buildings.

Discrimination arising from a disability means that a person is treated less favorably because of something arising in consequence of their disability. There is no discrimination, though, if it can be shown that the person discriminating did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know of the other person’s disability. Direct and indirect discrimination is unlawful, as is harassment.

A person is protected under the Act if they are associated with someone who is disabled, such as being a carer, even though they are not disabled themselves.

Northern Ireland

According to the Equality Commission, The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the DDA) as amended by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004, the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2005, the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order (Northern Ireland) 2005 (SENDO) and theSpecial Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (Amendment) (Further and Higher Education) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 provides protection for disabled persons against discrimination on the grounds of disability.