Definition of Disability
The definition of ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010 is a person who:
i) has a physical or mental impairment;
ii) the impairment has (1) a substantial and (2) long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.
For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:
i) substantial means more than minor or trivial;
ii) ‘long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions);
iii) ‘normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.
A person who has had a disability in the past that meets this definition, is also protected by the Equality Act 2010.
In Ministry of Defence v Hay (2008) Mr Justice Langstaff, sitting in the EAT, reminds us that the concept of disability in the Act is not a medical model, but a ‘functional’ model because the definition focuses on ‘impairment’. An ‘impairment’ is not the same as a ‘disability’. It is directed towards what a claimant cannot, or can no longer do at a practical level. Thus a constellation of symptoms which lasted over 12 months, even though the precise disability on which the claim was based according to expert evidence would have lasted less than 12 months, can be regarded as a combination of impairments with different effects, to different extents, over periods of time which overlapped and which constitutes a qualifying disability.
List of Recognised Disabilities By Employment Tribunals
Agoraphobia: Mental Impairment
Arthritis: Physical Impairment
Asthma: Physical impairment
Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Mental impairment
Back Impairment: Physical Impairment
Cerebral Palsy: Physical Impairment
Depression: Mental Impairment
Diabetes: Physical Impairment
Dyslexia: Mental Impairment
Epilepsy: Physical Impairment
Hearing Impairment: Physical Impairment
Heart Impairment: Physical Impairment
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Physical Impairment
Learning Disability/Difficulties: Mental Impairment
M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Both
Mental Health Issues / Mental Impairments: = Manic Depression, Bi-Polar Affective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Panic Attacks.
Migraine: Physical Impairment
Mobility Impairment: Physical Impairment
RSI: Physical Impairment
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Both
Shoulder, Arm, Hand Impairment: Physical Impairment
Visual Impairment: Physical Impairment
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