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of everyone affected by epilepsy

The UK equality laws and epilepsy

This information about the equality laws is for people who live in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

If you are looking for information about disability discrimination in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.


About the equality laws

This information is about two different equality laws: the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.

The Equality Act

The Equality Act applies to England, Scotland and Wales. It first came into force in October 2010, replacing the Disability Discrimination Act. It aims to protect people from unfair discrimination because of their disability, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex, sexual orientation or age. Under the Act, these are called ‘protected characteristics’. The message of the Equality Act is that everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work or when using services.

The Equality Act also has extra rules for government and other public organisations. They must pay ‘due regard’ to the need to reduce discrimination. They should also pay ‘due regard’ to making sure people who are disabled, or who have another protected characteristic, are treated equally to other people. To ‘pay due regard to’ means they should try to achieve the aims, but they do not have a legal obligation to achieve them.

The Disability Discrimination Act

The Disability Discrimination Act applies to Northern Ireland. It first came into force in 1995. It aims to reduce discrimination against disabled people. It says that disabled people should not be treated less well than non-disabled people.


Our thanks

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Kate Whittaker, solicitor, Irwin Mitchell LLP, for her contribution.

Conflict of interest

Kate Whittaker has declared no conflict of interest. 

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated December 2012
    To be reviewed December 2015

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