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UK Equality Act 2010: Disability Information

  • Synopsis: Information regarding laws rules and rights relating to the UK Equality Act 2010 to end discrimination against the disabled.

Definition: Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and has the same goals as the four major EU Equal Treatment Directives, whose provisions it mirrors and implements. The primary purpose of the Act is to codify the complicated and numerous array of Acts and Regulations, which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain. It requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

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NOTE: The U.K. Disability Discrimination Act is no longer in use - it is now known as the Equality Act 2010. From 1 October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply. The Equality Act 2010 is the law which bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society. This page will be updated in the near future to reflect these changes.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995)

A UK parliamentary act of 1995, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against people in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport.

The DDA is a civil rights law.

Other countries use constitutional, social rights or criminal law to make similar provisions.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides support for the Act. Equivalent legislation exists in Northern Ireland, which is enforced by the Northern Ireland Equality Commission.

The DDA 1995 departs from the fundamental principles of older UK discrimination law (the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976). These Acts depend on the concepts of direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. However, these concepts are insufficient to deal with the issues of disability discrimination.

The UK Disability Discrimination Act applies to all employers and everyone who provides a service to the public, except the Armed Forces.

It is a law designed to end discrimination against disabled people. It also meets the needs of small to medium sized businesses because it is flexible enough to take account of your business's individual circumstances.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. This Act has been significantly extended, including by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.

The UK Disability Discrimination Act gives disabled people rights in the areas of:

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Access to goods, facilities and services, including larger private clubs and transport services
  • Buying or renting land or property, including making it easier for disabled people to rent property and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations
  • Functions of public bodies, for example issuing of licenses
  • The Act requires public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. It also allows the government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport easily.

DDA Meaning of "disability" and "disabled person"

(1) Subject to the provisions of Schedule 1, a person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

(2) In this Act "disabled person" means a person who has a disability.

The duties on service providers have been introduced in three stages:

  • Since 2nd December 1996 - It has been unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favorably for a reason related to their disability.
  • Since 1st October 1999 - Service providers have had to make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way they provide their services.
  • Since 1st October 2004 - Service providers may have to make other 'reasonable adjustments' in relation to the physical features of their premises to overcome physical barriers to access.

Quick Facts: Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 has replaced the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.




Latest Equality Act - UK Publications

  1. Disabled Woman Sues Shops That Deny Her Access
    Cambridge wheelchair user begins court proceedings against businesses that refused requests to install ramps or other access facilities.
  2. 20 Years of the U.K. Disability Discrimination Act
    Business Disability Forum reflects upon 20 years of the U.K. Disability Discrimination Act.
  3. Biggest Developments Seen in Discrimination Law
    The new Equality Act will replace the current framework including Disability Discrimination Act Sex Discrimination Act Equal Pay Act Race Relations Act and Age Discrimination Act.
  4. Equality in Property - Important Issues from Equality Act 2010 for Property Managers
    Commercial property solicitor Trethowans looks at the Equality Act 2010 and implications for property managers.
  5. UK Equality Act and Business
    Long awaited UK Equality Act will go ahead as planned by the previous administration.


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