by Kate Russell


According to official figures, around one in five people of working age are considered to be ‘disabled’ within the meaning of The Equality Act 2010.

In November 2018 the Department for Work and Pensions published updated figures for the number of disabled people who are in work. The gap between employed non-disabled adults and employed disabled adults has fallen between 2013/14 and 2016/17.

Based on estimates previously published by the Office for National Statistics, 17% of working age people in the UK reported that they were disabled in April-June 2017.

3.5 million disabled people (49.2%) were in employment in April-June 2017, an increase of 600,000 (5.6 percentage points) in four years.

80.6% of non-disabled people were in employment. The disability employment rate gap was 31.3 percentage points, having narrowed by 1.8 points in four years.

Since legislation came into force, the rights of those with a disability have been significantly strengthened and extended. Disabled people are now protected from discrimination in the field of employment. As part of this protection, employers may have to make reasonable adjustments if their employment arrangements or premises place disabled people at a substantial disadvantage compared with non-disabled people.

In October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply.

If a disabled person suffers less favourable treatment as a result of his disability or the employer fails to make reasonable adjustments, the disabled person can complain to an employment tribunal. The Equality Act also provides rights for people not to be directly discriminated against or harassed because they have an association with a disabled person. This can apply to a carer or parent of a disabled person. In addition, people must not be directly discriminated against or harassed because they are wrongly perceived to be disabled.


Your organisation may have its own policies that relate to this topic. You should always check these policies before taking any action that could carry personal or organisational liabilities, and seek qualified advice if there is an apparent conflict between your organisation’s policies and the content of this topic.

This is the UK version of Alchemy Assistant and the references to laws and statutes relate to the United Kingdom.


Note: Throughout this topic ‘he’ and ‘him’ is intended to include both male and female employees and workers.

Copyright © Kate Russell