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Human Resources


The following pages seek to provide guidance and support to disabled staff, as well as to their line managers and colleagues. The aim is to share information in one place on the website to ensure that the University of Cambridge provides an effective working environment for all staff in line with the University's statutory duties and also its own policies and procedures.


The University of Cambridge is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity.

University of Cambridge Statutes & Ordinances



The Equality Act 2010

In 2010, the Equality Act received royal assent. This Act replaces previous equalities legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005. However, 90–95% of the law remains unchanged. The new Act simplifies the law by creating an overarching framework for equalities. It does this by introducing the concept of ‘protected characteristics’, which includes nine groups, on which unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation is prohibited. Disability is one of the nine groups; the others are Age, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief (including lack of belief), Sex and Sexual Orientation.

Definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010

In the Act, a person has a disability if:

  • They have a physical or mental impairment.
  • The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.

For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:

More than minor or trivial.
The effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special procedures covering recurring or fluctuating conditions).
Normal day-to-day activities
Everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

The definition covers a broad range of mental health and physical conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, HIV, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, hearing and visual impairments, asthma, ADHD and depression.

People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition can also be protected by the Act.

University policies and procedures and information that may be relevant:


Staff disclosure with regard to disability status is entirely voluntary. However, it is encouraged to ensure the effective provision of guidance, support and protection for disabled staff so that the appropriate resources and specialist support can be identified and provided. Disclosure of a disability is encouraged on application and appointment to a new role as well as at any time during employment at the University via Employee Self-Service (ESS) or by speaking to a manager.