Definitions of Discrimination

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 2 – Definitions

“Discrimination on the basis of disability” means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation;

“Reasonable accommodation” means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

UK Equality Act 2010

Section 13 Direct discrimination

(1)A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others.

(2)If the protected characteristic is age, A does not discriminate against B if A can show A’s treatment of B to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

(3)If the protected characteristic is disability, and B is not a disabled person, A does not discriminate against B only because A treats or would treat disabled persons more favourably than A treats B.

(4)If the protected characteristic is marriage and civil partnership, this section applies to a contravention of Part 5 (work) only if the treatment is because it is B who is married or a civil partner.

(5)If the protected characteristic is race, less favourable treatment includes segregating B from others.

(6)If the protected characteristic is sex—

(a)less favourable treatment of a woman includes less favourable treatment of her because she is breast-feeding;

(b)in a case where B is a man, no account is to be taken of special treatment afforded to a woman in connection with pregnancy or childbirth.

(7)Subsection (6)(a) does not apply for the purposes of Part 5 (work).

(8)This section is subject to sections 17(6) and 18(7).

Section 15 Discrimination arising from disability

(1)A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if—

(a)A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability, and

(b)A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

(2)Subsection (1) does not apply if A shows that A did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that B had the disability.

Section 19Indirect discrimination

(1)A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B’s.

(2)For the purposes of subsection (1), a provision, criterion or practice is discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B’s if—

(a)A applies, or would apply, it to persons with whom B does not share the characteristic,

(b)it puts, or would put, persons with whom B shares the characteristic at a particular disadvantage when compared with persons with whom B does not share it,

(c)it puts, or would put, B at that disadvantage, and

(d)A cannot show it to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

(3)The relevant protected characteristics are—

  • age;

  • disability;

  • gender reassignment;

  • marriage and civil partnership;

  • race;

  • religion or belief;

  • sex;

  • sexual orientation.

Section 20 Duty to make adjustments

(1)Where this Act imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments on a person, this section, sections 21 and 22 and the applicable Schedule apply; and for those purposes, a person on whom the duty is imposed is referred to as A.

(2)The duty comprises the following three requirements.

(3)The first requirement is a requirement, where a provision, criterion or practice of A’s puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.

(4)The second requirement is a requirement, where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.

(5)The third requirement is a requirement, where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide the auxiliary aid.

(6)Where the first or third requirement relates to the provision of information, the steps which it is reasonable for A to have to take include steps for ensuring that in the circumstances concerned the information is provided in an accessible format.

(7)A person (A) who is subject to a duty to make reasonable adjustments is not (subject to express provision to the contrary) entitled to require a disabled person, in relation to whom A is required to comply with the duty, to pay to any extent A’s costs of complying with the duty.

(8)A reference in section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule to the first, second or third requirement is to be construed in accordance with this section.

(9)In relation to the second requirement, a reference in this section or an applicable Schedule to avoiding a substantial disadvantage includes a reference to—

(a)removing the physical feature in question,

(b)altering it, or

(c)providing a reasonable means of avoiding it.

(10)A reference in this section, section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule (apart from paragraphs 2 to 4 of Schedule 4) to a physical feature is a reference to—

(a)a feature arising from the design or construction of a building,

(b)a feature of an approach to, exit from or access to a building,

(c)a fixture or fitting, or furniture, furnishings, materials, equipment or other chattels, in or on premises, or

(d)any other physical element or quality.

(11)A reference in this section, section 21 or 22 or an applicable Schedule to an auxiliary aid includes a reference to an auxiliary service.

(12)A reference in this section or an applicable Schedule to chattels is to be read, in relation to Scotland, as a reference to moveable property.

(13)The applicable Schedule is, in relation to the Part of this Act specified in the first column of the Table, the Schedule specified in the second column.

Section 21 Failure to comply with duty

(1)A failure to comply with the first, second or third requirement is a failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

(2)A discriminates against a disabled person if A fails to comply with that duty in relation to that person.

(3)A provision of an applicable Schedule which imposes a duty to comply with the first, second or third requirement applies only for the purpose of establishing whether A has contravened this Act by virtue of subsection (2); a failure to comply is, accordingly, not actionable by virtue of another provision of this Act or otherwise.