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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49851
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I suffer from severe anxiety and depression. These were diagnosed

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I suffer from severe anxiety and depression. These were diagnosed after a breakdown last year and I am currently on medication and receiving counselling to try to combat them.
Last year I joined the development programme at work which is the first step to progressing into higher roles. Since I joined the programme I have seen 9 people be promoted above me. Throughout development you work on a plan which tells you which areas you need to focus on in order to progress in the company. The areas I was told to focus on included communication and emotions. Both of these are very difficult for me to work on due to my mental health disability. However, I have been working on these both inside and outside of work. After various talks with my line manager, in which he told me how well I was doing and how he believes I have improved massively upon everything I have been asked to improve upon, I went to speak to my General Store Manager. He told me that as far as he was concerned I would not be promoted whilst I continued to show my emotions.
Since I began development I have turned my emotions around almost completely. Whilst in the beginning I would show them every time something went wrong, which I could accept is not an attribute they wanted in a manager, I can now mainly control them into small and private outbursts. I do still have some wobbles and bad days where I need some time and maybe a cup of tea before I can calm down. My argument is that these are related to my anxiety and therefore are a disability which I may never be able to have fully under control. As they would not affect my ability to do the job, I do not feel that it is right for me to not gain a promotion based on them.
I am beginning to wonder if this could be Disability Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer: 3 years.
Ben Jones :

ok thanks, ***** ***** with me please I will respond first thing i the morning as I am due to go offline now, thank you

Ben Jones :

Good morning, this could indeed be potential disability discrimination. First of all you would need to establish whether you meet the definition of ‘disability’.


In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.


The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.


I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)


If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.


This is your main argument – that the employer is not making reasonable adjustments to accommodate you and make sure you are not placed at a disadvantage in terms of promotion when compared to other employees that are not disabled. They could for example be more lenient when it comes to the promotion criteria or if there are any changes they could make to help you further then these would be expected to be implemented unless it is clear that it is impossible to do so.


If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act taking place). As a final resort you can also consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal but that can be risky and you are placing yourself out of a job too so only use that as a last resort.


Hope this clarifies your position?


Customer: Yes thank you that helps alot
Ben Jones :

Great, you are most welcome

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