You probably don’t know
people have hidden disabilities which mean they don’t show physical
signs. Hidden disabilities include learning difficulties, mental health,
speech, visual or hearing impairments. They can also include asthma and
other lung conditions, as well as chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
affect each person in a different way. They can be painful, exhausting,
and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it is
often difficult for others to acknowledge the challenges faced by the
Is there a definition?
The Equality Act 2010 sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination.
says you’re disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment
and that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on
your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
definition is wide ranging and includes progressive conditions. People
automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010
from the day they are diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple
The Citizens Advice website has clear information about what is defined as a disability. Gov.UK also explains the definition in more detail.
What does this mean for me?
providing goods or services like shops, cafes and cinemas must take
positive steps to remove the barriers faced by disabled people. This is
to ensure disabled people receive the same services, as far as this is
possible, as someone who’s not disabled. The Equality Act 2010 calls
this the duty to make reasonable adjustments. These can include things
Providing extra aids such as an induction loop or providing menus in large font.
Changing the way things are done. A member of staff could provide a chair for the customer and bring the product to them.
physical features like the colour of walls and doorways so that
visually impaired people or people living with Dementia can visualise
the space better
You can find out further information about reasonable adjustments on the Citizens Advice website.
premises may be a place where customers, or your staff, must wear a
face covering by law. In settings where face coverings are required,
there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face
covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances,
noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that
the reasons for this may not be visible to others. This includes but is
not limited to:
people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
a person is speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies
on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
For further information please visit the Gov.UK webpage.