People with depression to be protected against discrimination

An amendment to give people with depression greater protection
against discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
has been passed, writes Amy Taylor.

The amendment, which was made to the Disability Discrimination
Bill in its report stage in the House of Lords, will mean that the
effect of depression is seen as a long-term effect under the act in
certain circumstances and increase sufferer’s protection.

Lord Skelmersdale, who tabled the amendment, said that said that
the change was required as people who have recovered from a bout of
depression regularly found themselves unable to get paid work
because of discrimination.

The act states that where an impairment ceases to have a
substantial adverse effect on a person’s life it is to be
treated as continuing to have that effect if the effect is likely
to recur. But Skelmersdale said that depression was not necessarily
likely to recur as it did not usually have any underlying
conditions and therefore it was excluded from the definition.

The amendment changes the definition to state that depression
that has ceased to have a substantial effect on people’s
ability to carry out day to day functions should always be treated
as if it is likely to recur if the person has had a previous
episode of depression at this level for six months or more within
the last five years.

The bill has its third reading in the Lords on February


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