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Employment Law - Disability Defined


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15 March 2012

Section 6(1) of the Equality Act 2010 ('the Act') defines disability as 'a physical or mental impairment' which has a 'substantial long-term adverse affect on his/her ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.'

There is no statutory definition of 'physical or mental impairment' in the Act, however in the case of McNicol v Balfour Beatty Rail Maintenance Ltd and Rugamer v Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd the EAT defined it as 'some damage, defect, disorder or disease compared with a person having a full set of physical and mental equipment in normal condition.' In addition, in the case of Goodwin v Patent Office guidance was provided by the EAT in to decide whether a person has a 'physical or mental impairment' which is relevant to today's section 6(1) of the Act.

An additional requirement exists within the definition and that is that the 'physical or mental impairment' must have a 'substantial long-term adverse affect on the claimant's ability to perform normal day to day activities.' It is for each claimant suffering from a particular illness to prove that he/she is affected by such an illness that it brings them within the full definition of disability under the Act. For example, if someone had a sprained ankle they would not come within the definition unless the sprained ankle had a substantial long-term adverse affect on the claimant's normal day to day activities.

Aneela Akbar can be contacted at

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Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-05-08 11:39:34 in Legal Articles

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