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Ask The Expert:

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Lee Bronze, Employment Specialist at Linder Myers Solicitors Advises:

“Is it discriminatory if we, as a GP Practice, believe there is a risk in relation to a job applicant’s future inability to work on health grounds rather than current ability and therefore refuse employment?”

A belief that a potential employee has a progressive condition which could in the future meet the statutory definition of disability, even if it does not at that time, can be discrimination on the grounds of perception.  This can amount to direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 as it shows influence by a stereotypical assumption about the effects of an individual’s condition.

The reason is that the phrase ‘because of a protected characteristic’ in S.13 of the Equality Act is wide enough to cover the situation where an Employer acts on the basis that an individual is disabled (whether or not he or she actually is disabled).  In a claim of perceived disability discrimination, the employer who potentially discriminates must believe that all the elements in the statutory definition of disability could be present in the future, but it is not necessary that the employer should attach the label ‘disability’ to them rather it is the question of the employer’s perception of such things as the individual’s ability to undertake “normal day to day activities”.

If you require further advice on this please do not hesitate to contact us on:

Telephone Number: 0800 042 0200

Email us on [email protected]

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