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Discrimination at work - evidence in a disability discrimination claim

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’ve been treated unfairly at work because of your disability, you may have been discriminated against. Disability discrimination is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. If you’ve experienced disability discrimination, you may be able to make a discrimination claim in the employment tribunal.

This page explains about useful evidence if you want to make a disability  discrimination claim in the tribunal.

Showing disability discrimination

If you’ve been discriminated against because you’re disabled you may have the following claims under the Equality Act:

  • direct disability discrimination
  • indirect disability discrimination
  • discrimination arising from disability
  • failure to make reasonable adjustments
  • harassment related to disability
  • victimisation because you’ve raised issues about disability discrimination.

In each of these claims you will need to show the employment tribunal that you have a disability which meets the definition in the Equality Act 2010.

Useful evidence

The following things are useful evidence to show you have a disability if you want to make a disability discrimination claim:

  • medical evidence of your disability or condition
  • evidence from people who may care for you, like a care worker or family carers, about the difficulties you experience as a result of your disability
  • evidence of how your disability affects your use of workplace premises or the facilities and equipment at work - you could use a plan or video footage to show this
  • any written documentation you have which relates to your use of the office premises or the facilities and equipment at work - for example, if you’ve made any requests for change or if you’ve made a complaint
  • details of any work which has been carried out or any inspections which have been made
  • copies of all policies at work relating to disability - this includes things like equal opportunities policies and complaints handling policies
  • examples of reasonable adjustments which could have been made - you can find examples by contacting charities which support people with particular disabilities or by contacting Access to Work.

Access to Work is a government scheme that works with disabled people and employers to work out what changes are needed so the disabled person can do their job.

Find out more about the Access to Work scheme on the Disability Rights UK website at

Medical evidence in a disability discrimination claim

You can get medical evidence from your GP, physiotherapist, consultant or counsellor.

Showing you’re disabled

You will almost always need medical evidence to show that you have a disability which meets the definition in the Equality Act.

Medical evidence may be needed to:

  • identify your impairment
  • describe how your impairment affects your daily life  
  • if your impairment only has a minor effect on your daily life now, confirm that it’s likely to become substantial
  • confirm when the effect started and when it’s likely to end
  • where an effect fluctuates or comes and goes, confirm it’s likely to recur and when
  • if you take medication or aids which improve your condition, explain the effect of your impairment without the medication or aids.

Medical evidence in a claim about an employer’s failure to make reasonable adjustments

In a claim about an employer’s failure to make reasonable adjustments, you may need medical evidence to:

  • identify or confirm the disadvantage you’re experiencing and which needs to be addressed by your employer
  • confirm that particular adjustments will be effective in reducing or removing the disadvantage - you may also be able to contact a technical expert or specialist organisation about this kind of evidence
  • confirm the extent and likely length of any physical or psychological damage caused by your employer’s failure to make reasonable adjustments, if you want to claim compensation for injury to feelings or health.

Useful guidance

It can also be useful to check if you’re illness or condition is listed in the World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. If your illness or condition is covered by the WHO's list, it may be useful to state this in any claim to the tribunal.

To find out if a particular condition is in the list, you can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) helpline. You can also see the checklist on the WHO website at

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also issued guidance on what counts as a disability under the Equality Act. You can find the guidance on the EHRC website at

Next steps

Other useful information

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website.

Acas

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides free and impartial information and advice on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

To talk to an adviser about your employment problem, call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

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