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Disability and equality law 

Disability and equality law
Chapter:
Disability and equality law
Author(s):

Gillian S. Howard

and Tony Williams

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199643240.003.0003
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date: 12 December 2017

The Equality Act 2010 (EqA) (which applies in Great Britain and not in Northern Ireland) replaces the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and all the other antidiscrimination statutes and regulations (e.g. Sex Discrimination Act 1975; Race Relations Act 1976). The EqA has updated, added to, and consolidated the various definitions of discrimination that existed in the previous legislation. It makes discrimination because of various ‘protected characteristics’ unlawful. Disability is one of the ‘protected characteristics’. This chapter focuses on the disability discrimination provisions of the EqA but covers some of the other ‘protected characteristics’ in passing. Originally, antidiscrimination legislation was piecemeal, inadequate, and disparate. The EqA has pulled together the various pieces of antidiscrimination legislation, added explicit detail in some areas (e.g. includes a new definition of indirect disability discrimination), new concepts (e.g. ‘discrimination on the grounds of combined characteristics’) and modified the former approach under the disability discrimination legislation concerning comparisons with an ‘able-bodied’ person. These issues are explained in the following sections.

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