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Human Resources


Queen Mary is committed to creating a working and learning environment which is inclusive of and accessible to disabled people. We want to ensure that disabled people are treated with dignity and respect and are given the support they need to thrive.

On these pages you can find information about disability under the Equality Act 2010, our Staff Disability Network, reasonable adjustments and Access to Work, as well as resources and links to further information and support.

What do we mean by being disabled?

Having a disability means different things to different people.

Queen Mary wants to support all staff who have a mental or physical health condition or impairment. This could include staff who have experiences of:

  • physical or sensory impairments (such as hearing and visual impairments, MS, mobility challenges);
  • neurodiversity and/or learning differences (such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia);
  • mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, OCD);
  • other health/medical conditions (such as HIV, epilepsy, cancer).

It is important to recognise that disabled people are a very diverse group of individuals, with differing needs, and no experience of being disabled is the same. Not all disabilities are visible or permanent. Where appropriate, Queen Mary will take an individual and tailored approach to supporting our disabled community.

Disability under the Equality Act 2010

Under the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. 

  • ‘substantial’ is ‘more than minor or trivial’, e.g. it takes much longer or is harder to do some daily tasks, like getting dressed, going to work, socialising/communicating etc.
  • ‘long-term’ is defined as something that has affected you or is likely to affect you for 12 months or more, e.g. a breathing condition and/or a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection.

However, you are also covered by the Act if you have a progressive condition like HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis, even if you are currently able to carry out normal day to day activities.

An impairment is still considered long term if the effects are likely to come and go.

You are also covered by the Act if you had a disability in the past (e.g. you had a mental health condition, but you now consider yourself recovered).

You can find out more about the definition of disability under the Equality Act on the Citizen’s Advice website here.

Disability discrimination: what is covered by the Equality Act 2010?

Disability discrimination is when you are treated less favourably or put at a disadvantage for a reason that relates to your disability in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act.

The treatment could be a one-off action, the application of a rule or policy or the existence of physical or communication/social barriers which make accessing something difficult or impossible.

The discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful.

The legislation says that you must not be discriminated against because:

  • You have a disability
  • Someone thinks you have a particular disability (discrimination by perception)
  • You are connected to someone with a disability (discrimination by association)

You can find out more about disability discrimination on the Equality Human Rights Commission website here.

Everyone experiences health differently: at Queen Mary, we want to support as far as is reasonably possible any member of staff who is disabled, or has a physical or mental health condition.

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