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Discrimination in England, Scotland and Wales: what can I do?

This information about the Equality Act applies to people who live in England Scotland and Wales. If you live in Northern Ireland, see our information about epilepsy and your rights in Northern Ireland.

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

If you feel you've been discriminated against because of your epilepsy, you could take one or more of the following steps:

  • Get advice
  • Talk to the people concerned
  • Make a formal complaint
  • Take legal action

Get advice

You may want advice to help you decide if you've been discriminated against and what to do next. The Epilepsy Action Helpline can help by talking to you about your rights, and helping you to think about your next steps. You could also contact one of the organisations at the bottom of this page for specialist discrimination, legal or employment advice.

Talk to the people concerned

You could talk to the people concerned, for example, the employer or service provider. Explain to them why you think you've been discriminated against, and how you would like them to resolve the situation.

It's a good idea to keep a note of attempts you have made to try and sort the situation out. This can be useful information if you later decide to take legal action. If the discrimination is at work and you're a member of a union, you could ask them to support you with talking to your employer.

Make a formal complaint

If talking informally to the people involved doesn't solve the problem, you could make a formal complaint. Most employers and service providers will have a formal complaints procedure explaining how to make a complaint and who to complain to. At work, this is usually called a grievance procedure.

Take legal action

If you feel an employer or service provider has discriminated against you, you may be able to take legal action against them, but you need to act quickly. In most employment cases, you need to lodge your claim to an employment tribunal within 3 months of when the discrimination happened. For other discrimination claims (for example complaining about a service provider) you need to make a claim to court within 6 months.

Be aware that taking legal action can be expensive. However, depending on your financial circumstances and the issues involved, you may be eligible for the Legal Aid scheme. This might cover some or all of the costs.

Check if you can get legal aid in England or Wales.

Find out about legal aid in Scotland.

There are a number of not-for-profit organisations such as law centres, and firms of solicitors, that specialise in helping disabled people with discrimination issues. If you choose to employ a solicitor, it is important to check at the beginning how they will expect to be paid. You should also find out whether they have a contract to provide advice and representation through the Legal Aid scheme. It is also a good idea to find out how much experience they have in dealing with discrimination cases.

Sources of specialist advice and support

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
Provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.
Tel: 0300 123 1100
Website: acas.org.uk

Law Centres Network (England and Wales only)
Law Centres defend the rights of people who cannot afford a lawyer. Visit their website to see if you have a Law Centre in your local area.
Website: lawcentres.org.uk

Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)
The EASS Helpline advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights.
Tel: 0808 800 0082
Website: equalityadvisoryservice.com
EASS also has a range of template letters on discrimination

Find a solicitor (England and Wales only)
Website run by the Law Society to help you find a solicitor in England and Wales.
Website: solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk

See this information with references.

Code: 
F101.03
Event Date: 
Monday 11 November 2019

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Carl Graham, solicitor and partner in UK law firm DWF LLP for reviewing this information.

Carl Graham has declared no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated November 2019
    To be reviewed November 2022

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