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Disability and the Equality Act 2010

Disabled accessIn this section:

The Equality Act 2010 replaced a number of antidiscrimination laws, making a single Act in which people, with protected characteristics, are protected from discrimination with respect to employment and access to goods, facilities and services. There are 9 protected characteristics under the Act, including disability.  This topic will focus on disability discrimination.

There are 6 types of disability discrimination:

    • Direct discrimination: treating someone with a disability less favourably than others
    • Indirect discrimination: when a rule, policy or practice that applies to everyone particularly disadvantages a disabled person compared to a non-disabled person
    • Failure to make reasonable adjustments: employers and organisations have a duty to make sure disabled people can access jobs, education and services as easily as non-disabled people
    • Discrimination arising from disability: where discrimination is ‘connected with’ a disability rather than because of the disability itself e.g. having an assistance dog
    • Harassment: where unwanted behaviour related to a disability makes a disabled person feel humiliated, offended or degraded
    • Victimisation: when a person is treated badly because they have made a complaint of discrimination

The Government Equalities Office has produced a disability: quick start guide  for service providers, outlining how organisations act to address disability discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has developed guidance on key provisions for employers, workers, service providers and service users of the Equality Act 2010 in general.

As service providers, dental practices are required to comply with the legislation and must make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people or people associated with a disabled person are not prevented from using their services (see General Requirements for Complianceand What are ‘Reasonable’ Adjustments?).