Harassment related to disability is illegal under the Equality Act 2010. A person has a disability for these purposes if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse impact on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The Act provides for certain people to meet the definition of disability without having to show that they have an impairment that has or is likely to have a substantial, adverse long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This includes people who have cancer, HIV infection, multiple sclerosis and people who are certified as blind, partially sighted, severely sight impaired or sight impaired by a consultant ophthalmologist.
The following are some examples of activities that might constitute harassment related to disability:
- direct verbal abuse or comments that make a disabled person feel uncomfortable, intimidated or degraded
- comments which fail to acknowledge the employee disability
- physical abuse
- jokes or banter relating the disabled person
- mimicking or teasing a person about their disability
- deliberately altering physical space or removing equipment required by the disabled person