top of page


SKU: 11.12
  • Advice

    Ableism occurs when a person is mistreated or disadvantaged due to their disability. Events of said discrimination can be a singular event of the result of a culmination of events, either instance is covered by the Act. The Equality Act 2010 lists just some of the ways how disability discrimination might manifest. 


    Someone treats you poorly because: 

    • You have a disability;
    • You think you have a disability; or
    • You’re in close association with someone who has a disability.


    It is unlawful to mistreat someone under the above conditions. 


    What counts as a disability?

    The Equality Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a significant long-term effect on your ability to complete day to day activities. Some examples of what counts as a disability would include: 

    • Cancer;
    • An HIV infection;
    • Multiple sclerosis (MS); or
    • A visual impairment.


    Progressive conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's are also included under the Equality Act 2010 definition of disability. A progressive condition worsens over time and is counted as a disability the moment it affects daily activity. This effect does not have to be substantial at present but must be proven to be a significant barrier from participating in day-to-day life in the future. 


    What does Ableism Look Like? 

    Disability Discrimination can take many guises. The Equality Act 2010 provides us with six types of discrimination that can impact people with disabilities. 


    Direct Discrimination

    This occurs when someone treats you worse than a person in a similar situation due to a disability. An example of this might be an employee refusing to promote you despite being far more qualified because of your multiple sclerosis. It is assumed that you won’t be able to complete the job to their satisfaction. So, they instead give the job to someone who isn’t as suitable for the role.


    Indirect discrimination

    This occurs when an organisation has a policy or particular culture of working that has adverse effects on disabled people compared to counterparts that do not have disabilities. Organisations are liable for indirect discrimination unless the organisation can illustrate that there’s a good reason for its use.  For example, if a job application states that the applicant must have a driver’s licence then this would exclude several disabled people who may not have access to a driver's licence due to their conditions. For example, someone who is blind or suffers from epilepsy or any other physical or mental attribute which would prohibit them from driving. This is called objective justification. 


    Failure to make suitable adjustments

    Under the Equality Act, employers and organisations have to ensure that disabled people can access jobs, education and services with the same ease as those without disabilities. This responsibility is known as a duty to make reasonable adjustments. Refusing to follow a reasonable adjustment plan can adversely impact disabled people and can result in further discrimination. For example, an organisation only designates parking spaces close to the office to its senior leaders despite having an employee with mobility impairment who also needs that parking space. 


    Discrimination arising from disability:

    The Equality Act protects people from experiencing discrimination from their disability. This secures you from receiving mistreatment that might occur for a reason relating to your disability, such as needing time off to attend a medical appointment. This only counts if the person was already aware of your disability or should have been aware of it.



    This is perhaps one of the most explicit forms of discrimination. It takes place when someone is treated in such a way that makes the person feel ashamed, offended or degraded. An example of this might be a work colleague using derogatory language when talking to you. 



    This is when an individual has lodged a complaint due to a workplace’s mistreatment and then is treated worse for it. This also includes people who have helped support the lodging of a complaint. Examples of this might be an organisation threatening to sack a staff member because they believe they’re planning to support a colleague’s disability discrimination claim.


    Making a Complaint

    It is typically always best to take a more informal route when making a complaint as a first option. This can be as simple as speaking to your supervisor. However, if you find that the informal route does not resolve the issue, you can instead pursue the organisation’s own internal complaint procedure. If you wish to seek support and advice for your complaint, Lestons can act as an advocate on your behalf. As an advocate, we can liaise with your employer to seek a resolution. If you choose to escalate the complaint further, we can represent you at an employment tribunal or take an appeal to the court.


    Tips to Remember

    • If you choose to pursue a more formal complaints procedure, make sure you understand what each stage requires. This includes any timescales attached to each stage. 
    • Be concise when writing your complaint. The complaint needs to be easy to understand and read. Headings and bullet points may be the easiest way of keeping the complaint both easy to read and simple. 
    • Maintain a written record of the reported events, including the dates and the perpetrators of it as well. 
    • Make sure to collect evidence such as emails, written correspondence, videos, photographs or statements from witnesses. 
    • Be clear on what you want to happen after your complaint has been dealt with. Is it an apology from a colleague, a policy change or financial reimbursement? Make sure to clarify what you want to result from your complaint. 


    How we can help

    To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. 


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and medical consultant and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

Click hear to book your

free initial consultation:

bottom of page