By Cerys-Elen John
Last Updated: August 2020
According to the Equality Act 2010, disability discrimination is when someone is treated differently because of their disability. This can occur if a person treats another unfavourably because of something arising as a consequence of an individuals’ disability, and that this treatment cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. This can occur due to a one-off action, or can be caused by a rule or policy. Discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful, however in some cases being treated differently due to disability is lawful – further information on these lawful exceptions can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as an individual having a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment having a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Additionally, the Equality Act 2010 defines an impairment as long-term if it;
a) has lasted for a least 12 months.
b) is likely to last for at least 12 months.
c) is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected.
Additionally, some impairments are automatically treated as a disability and will be covered by the Equality Act 2010, these include:
- Cancer (including skin growths that need removing before they become cancerous);
- A visual impairment – this means you’re certified as blind, severely sight impaired, sight impaired or partially sighted;
- Multiple Sclerosis;
- An HIV infection – even if you do not have any symptoms;
- A severe, long-term disfigurement – for example severe facial scarring or a skin disease.
At SVC, we are committed to promoting and developing equality, diversity and inclusion in our actions, projects, and practices.
- Our Equal Opportunities 2020 policy outlines that disability discrimination is unlawful. Please read the policy for more information;
- Anyone involved in SVC is encouraged to report any form of disability discrimination to SVC staff, SVC Board of Trustees, or the HR department at Innovate Trust. Please read our Problem Solving Procedure 2020 for more information;
- SVC commits to promoting volunteering opportunities widely in order to recruit a more representative demographic of volunteers;
- As a provider of services to people with disabilities we will undertake whatever measures we can to accommodate and support people with disabilities in our staff and volunteer base;
- Additionally, as an employer, under the Equality Act 2010, SVC has a responsibility to make sure that people with disabilities can access jobs and services within our organisation as easily as non-disabled people. SVC has a duty to make reasonable adjustments. Please see our Equal Opportunities 2020 policy for more information;
- Under the Equality Act 2010, SVC cannot ask job applicants about their health or disability until they have been offered a job, except in specific circumstances where the information is necessary for the application, process, or a requirement of the job;
- SVC will continue to offer supported volunteering opportunities and commits to offering more opportunities each year;
- SVC strives to represent a diverse range of volunteers and beneficiaries relating to disability in promotional materials;
- SVC will ensure Risk Assessments and reasonable adjustments are put in place that are related to disability;
- Please see SVC’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement and Commitments page for more commitments.
Citizens Advice Website (2020) What Counts as a Disability. Available at:
Equality Human Rights Website (2020) Disability Discrimination. Available at:
Gov UK Website – The Equality Act 2010 (2010) Disability (Section 6). Available at:
SVC’s Policies and Procedures (2020) Equal Opportunities Policy. Available at: