Understanding your rights as a disabled applicant

Updated on 21 May 2024

Learn how the Equality Act protects you throughout the job application and employment process, including your rights to adjustments and disclosure.

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Your rights under the Equality Act

As a disabled applicant, you are protected during recruitment and within the workplace by certain rights under the Equality Act. The Equality Act considers a person to be disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial, long-term, and adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This means that individuals with a broad range of mental and physical conditions are protected as disabled – even if they do not have a formal diagnosis or self-identify as disabled. 

If you fall under this definition, it is important that you understand the rights that you hold, to allow you to access the full benefits and protections that you are entitled to. 

These include:

  • the right to reasonable adjustments within recruitment and the workplace

and protection from six forms of discrimination from colleagues and employers:

  • direct discrimination
  • discrimination arising from disability
  • indirect discrimination
  • harassment
  • victimisation
  • and failure to provide reasonable adjustments

To learn more about these types of discrimination, visit the Mind or Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

Due to these rights, it is often useful for disabled applicants to think through aspects of recruitment and the workplace more carefully than non-disabled applicants. This guide outlines two key aspects of this, requesting adjustments and disclosing your disability, to support you in your future applications.

Requesting adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are changes that employers must make to ensure that the recruitment process and the workplace are accessible to disabled individuals. Many different adjustments can be requested, and each applicant will likely require slightly different provisions.

As a disabled applicant, you can request adjustments at any stage of the hiring process. You can also request them after you have started a role. The adjustments that you need for each stage may vary, so it may be helpful to think these through in advance.

Some examples of reasonable adjustments are as follows, although this is not a comprehensive list:

  • Adapting screening criteria
  • Providing a sign language interpreter
  • Sharing interview questions in advance
  • Allowing extra time for interviews, recruitment tests, or assessment centres
  • Supplying assistive software or hardware
  • Granting flexible working hours
  • Adjusting attitudes
  • Changing the physical environment

Assessing your needs and seeking support

To consider which changes you may need, think through any changes you have had for University. Also, think about the challenges that may arise from the duties and work environment of the roles you are applying for. 

When doing so, you may find it useful to refer to the UK Government’s Health Adjustment Passport. This form was made to help you find what support you may need in hiring and at work.

In addition, the University of Dundee partners with EmployAbility. They can help you to figure out which adjustments will best support you. They can also help you decide when to ask for them and speak to employers for you to request them. To access the support provided by EmployAbility, register on their website and then contact EmployAbility directly, requesting an appointment.


To help fund the support that you may need, you may also be able to claim financial assistance from the UK Government’s Access to Work grant scheme. The Access to Work grant can cover the costs of communication support at job interviews. It can also cover practical work support. This includes: 

  • specialist software
  • adaptive equipment
  • transport
  • or a support worker

This support is available for most paid jobs, regardless of type, duration, or earnings, and you can check your eligibility on the government website.

Disclosing your disability

The question of whether to talk to employers about your disability can be worrying. So can the question of when to do it. However, it is largely up to you to determine the extent to which you wish to disclose your disability, as well as how you wish to do so.

There is no legal requirement to disclose your disability at any time, unless your disability may have implications for Health and Safety regulations. Also, the Equality Act gives you rights. Employers can't ask about your disability during the hiring process until they make a job offer. But, they can ask if your disability affects your ability to do a recruitment assessment or core job tasks. Employers should also not ask you to prove your disability to make the adjustments you requested. They have a legal duty to provide these. As such, if disclosure is something that you don’t want to do, you often don’t have to.

However, there may be times when you feel that disclosure is beneficial to both you and the employer. For example, when requesting adjustments, you may find it helpful to provide details about your disability. You may also want to use your disability to highlight a key skill, a competency, or a motivation. You can also use it to explain a difference in your profile during recruitment. Also, disclosing your disability may give you access to disability-specific support. It may also give you access to job opportunities. Additionally, if you do not declare your disability, but face difficulties within the workplace, there is the potential that this may affect you in the future.

To discuss any career issues, including your rights as a disabled applicant, you can book a careers appointment with a careers adviser through the CareersPortal

You can also access the MyPlus Students’ Club learning pathway on the CareersPortal. It will guide you through key parts of recruitment as a disabled applicant. This includes adjustments and disclosure.


For more information about your rights within employment, including requesting adjustments and disclosing your disability, you can also visit the following links:

  • ACAS - advice on what reasonable adjustments are, how to make requests, and example adjustments.
  • AGCAS - a list of example reasonable adjustments. The list is focused on potential adjustments for neurodivergent individuals but may be of use to others.
  • Disability Justice - a guide about disability rights within employment.
  • GOV.UK - a brief overview of disability rights within employment.
  • Mind - a detailed overview of disability rights under the Equality Act, including advice on reasonable adjustments.
  • MyPlus Students' Club - guidance and resources on how to apply with a disability, disclose your disability, and request adjustments.
  • SCOPE - advice on what reasonable adjustments and disclosure are, how to request adjustments or disclose your disability, and example adjustments.
  • UCU - a guide about disability disclosure, including current laws, when it may be advantageous or disadvantageous to disclose, and when you are obliged to disclose.

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