People with mental health conditions and other health problems will be better protected against discrimination due to a change in law that comes into effect from 5 December.
Around a quarter of a million people will no longer have to prove they have a “clinically well-recognised” condition in order to being a case under disability discrimination legislation, due to changes coming into force through the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.
For the first time, the law will cover people diagnosed with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis who are not yet showing signs of their illness. It will mean that employers and organisations providing services to the public will be unable to discriminate against people solely on the grounds that they have HIV, cancer or MS.
Under current legislation, people with mental health conditions have to prove they have a mental impairment that has a “substantial and long-term impact” on their lives to be able to get protection under discrimination law. They also must prove their condition is “clinically well-recognised.”
Today, Bert Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, said the changes would close a “significant loophole” in the law. He added: “We have been unable to help people who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses and then treated unfairly, because they didn’t fall under the legal definition of disability. This is plainly wrong. People diagnosed with serious long-term health conditions shouldn’t be discriminated against – full stop.”
Details on the new legislation are available from: www.drc-gb.org