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Prospect is committed to fighting for equality of opportunity for all our members. In the context of disability equality, we believe that all workplaces, and society generally, will benefit from an inclusive environment.

man with guide dogWe believe that people are disabled by the barriers that stand in the way of their participation in society and in the workplace. These barriers can be physical and attitudinal and by tackling them we can ensure full participation, to everyone's benefit. This is the social model that we encourage our representatives to adopt in their workplace negotiations. 

The Equality Act includes a public sector duty to promote disability equality and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. Although it only applies in the public sector, we are encouraging all our representatives to ensure that the good practice associated with implementing this new duty is introduced in all workplaces.

The union provides advice and guidance to members and representatives in promoting equality for disabled members and tackling disability discrimination in the workplace. This includes:

  • understanding what reasonable adjustments may be required in the workplace
  • ensuring that absence management policies take account of individuals' disabilities where necessary
  • negotiating a period of disability leave, to enable the employee and employer to adjust where an individual has become disabled or their disability changes in some way
  • ensuring that employers take account of disabilities issues in all their policies, such as recruitment and retention, promotion, training, redeployment, redundancy situations.

Prospect's guidance and briefings on disability issues can be downloaded from the resources below (or the Resources page to the left).


Prospect encourages disabled members to participate at all levels of the union. We have a disabled members' network which seeks comments on proposals by the union and employers, and updates members about appropriate courses and campaigns. Members of the network can contact and support each other. The network is an important source of expertise for Prospect. See the terms of reference on the main equalities page.

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Prospect organises a number of conferences, seminars, training courses and other events both at national, regional and branch level. We have both a moral and legal obligation under the Equality Act to ensure that we deliver our services to disabled members in a way that does not discriminate against them.

We try to ensure that all our events are accessible to disabled members. You can read more about this in our access policy, available to download as a leaflet or read on screen.

Prospect can provide our national publications  in accessible  formats. For more information, go to: 

Disability Equality

Prospect has produced a negotiator's guide to disability equality which focuses on workers' rights under the legislation. As well as providing valuable ammunition for reps when dealing with personal cases, it provides the impetus to get disability issues on the negotiating agenda

An equality briefing has been published  which provides  detailed guidance on  disability discrimination  and appraisal & performance systems.

There is also a briefing detailing Prospect resources to promote disability equality.

The social model of disability

Prospect agrees with the TUC and the disabled people's movement  that  people are disabled by the barriers that stand in the way of their participation in society  and in the workplace . These barriers can be physical and attitudinal , and by tackling them we can ensure  full participation, to everyone's benefit. This is the social model which negotiators and representatives should adopt in their workplace negotiations. The social model is based on what disabled people can do rather than what they cannot do. The TUC has produced a guide  Trade Unions and Disabled Members: Why the social model matters

A Manifesto for Disability Equality

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) on the advice of its disabled members has published a Manifesto to promote support for the steps needed to achieve equality for millions of disabled people in Britain and elsewhere who face discrimination, poverty and prejudice. The Manifesto is not a wish list, but a call to action.

The Manifesto sets out, briefly, the key policy demands needed to achieve disability equality. To help trade unionists and others to win the arguments and to gain supporters from the manifesto, a guide for activists has also been published: Using the TUC Manifesto for Disability Equality: a guide for trade union activists.

Disability and Employment

Disability and Employment is a TUC report, using the social model of disability to study the employment experiences of disabled people in Great Britain, with a particular focus on people with a mental illness.

This report shows that disabled people consistently fare worse in employment than non-disabled people. A number of factors can aggravate these negative outcomes, including the dual discrimination faced by disabled women or the especially pronounced disadvantage faced by people with mental health problems due to inflexible workplaces and ignorance about their impairments.

However, the good news is that there is a lot that can be done to help counteract and reduce artificial barriers to employment. 

Sickness absence and disability

The TUC has published advice for union negotiators on the law and good practice in dealing with disability related absences from work. Included in the guidance is a recommendation that disability leave agreements are part of the solution. Sickness absence and disability discrimination.

Pre-employment health questions

The Equality Act 2010 introduced a new provision whereby employers may not ask applicants for employment about their health or any disability before selecting them to interview or offering them a job. There are very limited exceptions and we have produced guidance for our equality and health & safety representatives.

Trade unions and disabled people fighting austerity

The TUC has published a briefing on trade unions and disabled people fighting austerity. It contains a summary of key facts as well as suggestions for action by unions campaigning on austerity, encouraging alliances with disabled activists and an inclusive approach. Many trade union members are among those who have fallen for government lies about benefits scroungers, with particular negative impact on many disabled people. This briefing aims to address these issues and should be used widely by reps and branches.

Supporting members with invisible impairments

Most disabled people do not have visible signs of impairment, such as the use of a mobility aid. And if a person’s impairment is not visibly obvious, their right to reasonable adjustments to aid their access to work may not be as readily recognised. In some cases, a person’s impairment may even be treated with disbelief by colleagues and managers.

The TUC guide You Don’t Look Disabled provides information on: the role that trade unions can play; the equality laws that support disabled workers; and case studies that show how problems can be addressed to stop or prevent discrimination.


Responsibility for overseeing the Equality Act to eliminate discrimination against disabled people lies with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Prospect has joined the Trade Union Disability Alliance, which is a campaigning organisation for disabled trade union members.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition to help you start working and stay in work. Factsheets for customers have been produced on YouTube.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society has published Working with MS, a guide for individuals and employers on good practice in the employment of people with MS. There is also a very useful FAQ on employment and MS. The society also has a helpline number for anyone affected by MS: 0808 800 8000.


Why disabled achievers should be remembered

Equality Briefings and Resources

Equality Briefings provide advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues and a Briefing has been produced with links to Prospect's resources for equality, including our guides, posters and leaflets etc. 

Equality Briefings

Resources for Equality

Downloadable resources

Health and Safety briefing - January 2018   info
 17 January 2018 

Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability white paper   info
 17 January 2018 

Legal Eye - Issue 15 - October 2017   info
 12 October 2017 

Improving Lives - Prospect response to The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper   info
 17 February 2017 

Consultation - Improving Lives Green Paper Work Health & Disability   info
 21 November 2016 

Neurodiversity case study: Malcolm, Senior Case Management Officer, a disability rights organisation   info
 14 June 2016 

Neurodiversity and discrimination   info
 27 April 2016 

036 UK Disability History Month   info
 01 December 2015 

0389 - Obesity may be a disability   info
 19 December 2014 

Stress stigma solutions - disability appraisal & performance   info
 29 July 2014 

Time to Talk about depression   info
 06 February 2014 

Report, December 2013   info
 13 December 2013 

TUC Disability Conference: 28-29 May 2014   info
 04 December 2013 

Equality Poster: Disability History Month, Nov-Dec   info
 01 November 2013 

Disability Discrimination and Appraisal & Performance Systems   info
 17 September 2013 

Disability Equality   info
 12 March 2013 

Pre-employment health questions   info
 08 February 2013 

Equality Digest: week ending 27 July 2012   info
 27 July 2012 

Equality leaflet: Disabled Workers   info
 12 March 2010 

Disability Charter – taking forward disability equality in Prospect   info
 12 May 2009