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11 May, 2022 Open access

Equality and Human Rights Commission advises that whether long Covid amounts to a disability for Equality Act purposes will depend on the circumstances of individual cases

Commission recommends that employers follow existing guidance when considering reasonable adjustments and access to flexible working for those with long Covid

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has advised that whether long Covid amounts to a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 depends on the circumstances of individual cases.

In a statement on long Covid, disability and the Equality Act, the EHRC says that -

'Given that ‘long Covid’ is not among the conditions listed in the Equality Act as ones which are automatically a disability, such as cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis, we cannot say that all cases of ‘long Covid’ will fall under the definition of disability in the Equality Act.'

However, the EHRC goes on to advise that -

'This does not affect whether ‘long Covid’ might amount to a disability for any particular individual - it will do so if it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This will be determined by the employment tribunal or court considering any claim of disability discrimination.'

The EHRC adds that -

'To support workers affected by ‘long Covid’ and avoid the risk of inadvertent discrimination, we would recommend that employers continue to follow existing guidance when considering reasonable adjustments for disabled people and access to flexible working, based on the circumstances of individual cases.'

The EHRC statement on ‘long Covid’, disability and the Equality Act is available from equalityhumanrights.com