Region: Europe

Disability Definition

Having a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Medical Model: an individual is understood to be disabled by their impairment

Social Model: views disability as the relationship between the individual and society

Reference: The Scottish Public Health Observatory


The Equality Act 2010: Disability is one of the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act.

“The EA 2010 prohibits harassment related to disability and victimization related to raising a complaint or providing information/ evidence of disability discrimination.”

“It is unlawful for employers, except in specific circumstances, to ask questions about health or disability before the offer of a job is made or someone is placed in a pool of people to be offered a job.” Disability-inclusive policies in Scotland – OHCHR

Disability Delivery Plan: Outlines more than 20 actions that are aimed to address the employment gap for disabled people.

The Five Ambitions: Support services that promote independent living, meet needs and work together to enable a life of choices, opportunities and participation; Decent incomes and fairer working lives; Places that are accessible to everyone; Protected rights; Active participation

Employer Legal Requirements

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – Section 4


It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person –

  • in the arrangements which he makes for the purpose of determining to whom he should offer employment;
  • in the terms on which he offers that person employment; or
  • by refusing to offer, or deliberately not offering, him employment.

It is unlawful for an employer, in relation to employment by him, to subject to harassment –

  • a disabled person whom he employs; or
  • a disabled person who has applied to him for employment.

It is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person whom he employs – in the terms of employment which he affords him;

  • in the opportunities which he affords him for promotion, a transfer, training or receiving any other benefit;
  • by refusing to afford him, or deliberately not affording him, any such opportunity; or
  • by dismissing him, or subjecting him to any other detriment.

More information in Section 4.

Accessibility Requirements

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – Section 4A

Where – a provision, criterion or practice applied by or on behalf of an employer, or
any physical feature of premises occupied by the employer, places the disabled person concerned at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, it is the duty of the employer to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for him to have to take in order to prevent the provision, criterion or practice, or feature, having that effect.

In subsection (1), “the disabled person concerned” means –
in the case of a provision, criterion or practice for determining to whom employment should be offered, any disabled person who is, or has notified the employer that he may be, an applicant for that employment;
-in any other case, a disabled person who is –
-an applicant for the employment concerned, or
-an employee of the employer concerned.

Nothing in this section imposes any duty on an employer in relation to a disabled person if the employer does not know, and could not reasonably be expected to know –

in the case of an applicant or potential applicant, that the disabled person concerned is, or may be, an applicant for the employment; or in any case, that that person has a disability and is likely to be affected in the way mentioned in subsection

Cultural Norms

The Analysis of the National Performance Framework (NPF) outcome indicators from the perspective of disability gathered data across 11 different categories. From the overall data collected in 2019, a considerable number of indicators suggest that disabled people face barriers in fully participating in Scottish society.

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


Approximately one fifth of Scotland’s population define themselves as disabled.

Only about 50% of disabled people of working age are in work compared to 80% of non-disabled people of working age.

The employment rates in Scotland will vary based on the type of impairment a person has; people with mental health conditions have the lowest employment rate of all the impairment categories.

One Scotland

Supplier Diversity

Additional content coming soon.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Work First and Fair Start Scotland employment support services – “The Work First Scotland service is delivering employment support for up to 3,000 disabled people. The 12 month arrangement is ahead of a full Scottish programme of employment support that will start in April 2018, and is providing continuity of support for those who need it most.”

Additional Resources

Disability Information Scotland – Providing accurate and accessible information to enable a positive change in the realm of disability employment.

Inclusion Scotland – Working to achieve positive changes to policy and practice, so that disabled people are fully included in society.


Additional content coming soon.
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