Legal Considerations

Cornwall Work and Health Beacon Project

Fairness in the workplace is a vital part of a successful business. It is supported by the law - the Equality Act 2010 - and also makes good business sense. For more information on disability discrimination visit ACAS.


An employer who’s recruiting staff may make limited enquiries about a candidates health or disability. You can only ask about their health or disability:

  • to help decide if they can carry out a task that is an essential part of the work
  • to help find out if they can take part in an interview
  • to help decide if the interviewers need to make reasonable adjustments for them in a selection process
  • to help monitoring
  • if they want to increase the number of disabled people they employ
  • if they need to know for the purposes of national security checks

You may ask whether they have a health condition or disability on an application form or in an interview. 


It’s against the law for employers to discriminate because of a disability. The Equality Act 2010 protects people with disabilities and covers areas including:

  • application forms
  • interview arrangements
  • aptitude or proficiency tests
  • job offers
  • terms of employment, including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances

Reasonable adjustments in the workplace

An employer has to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting their employee at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in the workplace. For example, adjusting working hours or providing specialist equipment to help them do the job. You have a duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 when:

  • the employer become aware of their disability 
  • the worker asks for adjustments to be made
  • the employee is having difficulty with their job
  • an employees sickness or delay in returning to work is linked to their disability 

The employer should hold a meeting with the worker to discuss what can be done to help them. 

Redundancy and retirement

You can’t select someone for redundancy just because they're disabled. The selection process for redundancy must be fair and balanced for all employees.

You cannot force your employee to retire if they become disabled.