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Increase in Disability Discrimination Cases

Disability Discrimination in the workplace

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A recent research exercise commissioned by the Financial Times has identified an upturn in claims related to disability discrimination.

The definition: Disability discrimination equates to a claimant who has suffered a detriment, discrimination and/or dismissal on grounds of disability or failure of the employer to make reasonable adjustments

As with other claim classifications disability cases fell away with the introduction of tribunal fees in 2013 but since their removal in late 2017 cases have steadily returned to previous levels. According to the latest statistics they have now surpassed those seen before 2013.

Prior to 2013, the quarterly average was approximately 1800 disability discrimination claims.
During the period in which the fees were in place, the average dropped to just under 900 per quarter however since the removal of the fees the average had returned to 1700.

The upturn has seen an increase of 16% in the most recent quarter to over 2000 claims.

With mental health being the most common type of work-related illness, accounting for 44% of all sickness for employees, it is highly likely it factors in the increase.

In 2018-19 almost 13 million working days were lost due to work-related stress and depression.

Dealing with Mental Health Issues in the Workplace


The most common conditions are: Stress, Anxiety and/or Depression

Less common conditions: Schizophrenia, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD

The Law

Employers have a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments for members of staff demonstrating symptoms of a known condition.

They must:

  • Ensure their workplace is safe
  • Prevent employees from being subjected to discrimination
  • Regularly undertake risk assessments

In addition, it is advisable to:

  • Review the well-being of staff as a matter of good practice
  • Engage to understand the adjustments that can be accommodated by better understanding their workload
  • Permit more frequent breaks or where possible broader flexible working arrangements
  • Raise awareness of neurodiversity and mental health by including it in induction programmes, management training and building a positive response to such matters into the company culture

If you have any queries or concerns relating to discrimination please contact us… Call Robert Gibson or Sally Lomas Fletcher on 0191 2328451
or e-mail

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