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Prospect believes people are disabled by external barriers and that, by removing these physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from accessing work and services and living independently, we can ensure their full participation, to everyone’s benefit.

We encourage our representatives to adopt this social model, based on what disabled people can do rather than what they cannot do, in workplace negotiations.

It distinguishes between impairment – a characteristic or long-term trait that may result from an injury, disease or condition – and disability, which is experienced by people with an impairment when society does not take sufficient account of their needs.

It compares to the medical model, which presents impairments as the cause of disadvantage and exclusion, rather than considering how to make workplaces accessible.

The law

The Equality Act outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of disability and requires employers to provide reasonable adjustments to allow for the full participation of disabled people.

The Act includes a public-sector duty to promote disability equality and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. (Although it applies only in the public sector, we urge representatives to ensure the good practice associated with it is introduced in all workplaces.)

The Act defines a person with a disability as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Click here for our employment law briefings, which are listed alphabetically. Click here for our employment law updates which are listed by date.

Our guidance

Prospect provides advice and guidance to members and representatives that 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 related to recruitment and retention, promotion, training, redeployment and redundancy.

We’ve also published:

You can find all our resources under the Resources tab in the left-hand navigation menu. This includes links to guides, posters and leaflets etc.

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

Our network

Prospect has a disabled members’ network that seeks comments on proposals by the union and employers and updates members about courses and campaigns. Members are able to contact and support each other. Learn more about Prospect’s networks and how to join.

Our campaigns

Neurodiversity: Several million British workers are affected by neurodiverse conditions such as­ autism spectrum conditions, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. We have published comprehensive advice and guidance for members, representatives and managers.

Public resources for disability

Please let us know if any of the links on this page are not working by emailing so that we can either remove or fix them where possible.