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This page examines the general definition of disability as well as the parameters of the Equal Opportunities and Discrimination (Equality Act 2010), which will help us to legally and fairly address the subject of absenteeism in other areas of this website.

Definition of Disability

Definition of disability: disability is something that limits, impairs and/or restricts a person from functioning and may be physical, mental, sensory, emotional, and cognitive or a combination of several of these factors.  Disabilities can be present at birth or occur at any point in a person’s life.  Disabilities range from mild to severely limiting impairments.

Equal Opportunities Act 2010

The Equal Opportunities and Discrimination (Equality Act 2010) began to be applied in August 2011, and was meant to replace the Equal Opportunity Act of 1995.  One of its aims was to pinpoint and eradicate discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate against a person with regard to age, race, religion, marriage or civil partnership, political beliefs, pregnancy, sex, industrial activity, disability carer or parental status, or to discriminate against someone for having a personal association with anyone possessing any of these characteristics.

It is illegal to victimise or sexually harass a person for making a complaint, voicing their rights or refusing to discriminate against another person.

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person is considered disabled who has a substantial and long term impairment of their capacity to execute normal day to day activities.  In the Equality Act’s definition, the word ‘substantial’ is used to indicate that a normal activity or task would take significantly longer to complete, such as brushing one’s teeth or getting dressed.  The words ‘long term’ are also specifically defined, and mean 1 year or longer.

New Features of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010

One of the new features of the Equality Act 2010 makes eliminating discrimination a legal duty.  It protects volunteers and unpaid workers from sexual discrimination and offers a new dispute resolution service to more efficiently resolve claims of discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 offers a definition of direct and indirect discrimination that is easier to understand.  It grants the Commission the ability to investigate systemic issues in the absence of any individual complaint.  Finally it allows for what would ordinarily constitute certain types of discrimination for religious bodies where such discrimination is consistent with confirming one’s religious belief.

Absenteeism and People With Disabilities

Absenteeism can be decreased for people with disabilities by following the tenants of the Equality Act 2010, including making reasonable adjustments for disabled people to continue to work.  This may involve changes to the physical premises or changes to someone’s duties as well as creating more flexible hours.  Knowing the laws will help companies to outline their policies and create a system of adjustments that helps them to legally and humanistically support others while maximising their attendance rates.

To find out more about managing staff absenteeism, contact Holiday Scheduler at any time during office hours: