Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
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Thank you. Your rights will very much depend on whether your condition amounts to a disability under employment laws. If it does, you will have relatively strong rights, specifically that you are going to be protected against discrimination by the employer and there will also be an obligation on them to make reasonable adjustments to help you.
By having this policy in place, you would be indirectly discriminated by them as there is a provision which places you at a disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees. In addition, a reasonable adjustment in these circumstances would be to provide you with the necessary equipment and leave it there, best achieved by making an exception and allocating you a dedicated desk, which you would not have to vacate each day. For the majority of workers an open desk policy is fine, but exceptions can be made and this is the best example of making a reasonable adjustment to ensure they discharge their legal obligations under disability laws.
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You do not have to be registered disabled to qualify. Disability can have a broad meaning from a legal perspective and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Potentially anything can amount to a disability if it meets the required criteria.
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 and examine it in more detail:
If a person satisfies the above criteria, as mentioned they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination. This 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.