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The definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010

12 December 2014: Disability Discrimination – What’s in a Name?

There are some names which seem strangely apt, such as that Mark Avery of the RSPB, Belgian footballer Mark De Man, lawmaker Lord Judge and gardener Bob Flowerdew (see BBC article). Claimant Mr R Saad this week might well join that distinguished list:


Under the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Just because someone is diagnosed with a condition, does not mean that it necessarily amounts to a disability under the Act, as demonstrated in in Saad v University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust this week.


It was accepted that Mr Saad suffered from a depressive and general anxiety disorder which was an ‘impairment’ under the Act. However that impairment did not have a ‘substantial’ or a ‘long-term’ adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.


The Tribunal had properly assessed the effects of Mr Saad’s impairment on the work environment including in this case, his ability to concentrate, communicate with colleagues and access the work place.


It is generally prudent for any employer, having identified that an employee has a condition that might amount to a disability under the Act, to consider whether reasonable adjustments can facilitate the person in their role.  Sadly for Mr Saad, this case shows it may not be easy for a Claimant to satisfy a Tribunal s/he has a disability even when the condition is accepted.


Reculver Solicitors is a firm of solicitors specialising in employment law, (including disability discrimination) and based in London WC1V (Holborn – just by Chancery Lane Underground). Call today on 0207 118 0950 or email us at Visit our website at


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