Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

The Equality Act of 2010 has made discrimination in the workplace due to a disability illegal. The Act further protects those with disabilities from other acts of discrimination outside of the workplace.  


Discrimination is defined as a person being made to feel less than another person or placed at a disadvantage because of a perceived notion. In the case of those with a disability, it is the notion that the disability will prevent the individual from performing their necessary duties in the workplace.  

Discrimination can occur to those who:  

• Have a disability  

• Are believed to have a disability  

• Are associated with someone who has a disability  

Discrimination by association occurs in the workplace when a person is not hired or promoted because their loved one has a disability and may need the assistance of the employee at different times.  

Discrimination can occur by making rules or failing to make rules that will accommodate those with disabilities. It can be an intentional or unintentional act,  

A disability is defined as a:  

• Physical or mental condition that does not allow a person to function on the same level as other people  

• Progressive diseases, such as MS or HIV that may require additional medical care  

• Previous disability that lasted for over 12 months but from which you are now recovered  

Discrimination in The Workplace  

Discrimination in the workplace can occur on many different levels. Hiring practices are the most common form of discriminatory practices. A company cannot legally ask about medical conditions or health issues prior to an official job offer being made. Businesses cannot set standards for a position that would actively discriminate against a person, such as establishing requirements that are not necessary for the position to be performed.  

In the workplace itself, employers are prevented from making the workplace unfriendly to those with disabilities. An example of this would be an employee that needs grab rails to help lower themselves and rise from the toilet seat. Failure to install these rails is an act of discrimination.  

Of course, other forms of discrimination would include treating the person badly or unjustly in the workplace due to their disability. Depending on the type of treatment being received, this can almost be abusive.  


Anyone who feels that they are being actively discriminated against in a workplace situation should seek legal counsel to see if the business is in violation of the law. Anyone with a disability has specific rights under the Equality Act of 2010 to be free from discriminatory practices by any and all employers.


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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).