Careers and Employability Centre

Discrimination and disclosing a disability

As an employee, you're protected from discrimination in the workplace and during the recruitment process by the Equality Act (2010).

The law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of nine protected characteristics. People with disabilities can also receive additional support from their employer if they have disclosed their disability.

What are the protected characteristics?

The Equality Act covers:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
How is a disability defined?

Under the Equality Act, the Government defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities".

How am I protected by the Act if I have a disability?

If you have an disability that is covered by the Equality Act, your employer is required to make reasonable adjustments if you have disclosed your disability. 

This could mean making the building more accessible by adding a wheelchair ramp, providing a more suitable desk or chair, or adjusting your working hours.

Should I disclose my disability to an employer?

Deciding whether, and when, to disclose your disability to a potential or current employer is an important issue.

There is no definitive answer, so it's worth thinking about the potential benefits of disclosing your disability and/or discussing it with a Careers and Employability Consultant.

Our Disability and Disclosure - Employment and Your Rights [DOCX 24.58KB] guide may help you decide the best course of action for you.

Are you experiencing discrimination in the workplace?

If you're experiencing discrimination or any problems at work like bullying and harassment, you can talk to your manager, HR team or someone you trust. You can also discuss your situation and concerns with a Careers and Employability Consultant in a confidential appointment.

General information

Diversity resources

Many employers run specific schemes to increase diversity in their organisations, including job and internship schemes, workshops and scholarships. See our Equality and diversity page for more information.