Published: 09 May 2022
"There continues to be discussion of the various symptoms related to Covid-19 that are often referred to as ‘long Covid’ and whether they would constitute a disability under the Equality Act.
"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, long Covid will count as a disability for a particular person if their condition meets the Equality Act definition of a disability. According to that definition, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone's ability to do normal day-to-day activities.
"We will continue to monitor developments regarding long-Covid’s legal status as a disability under the Equality Act and consider any findings by the courts.
"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."
Update: 19 Oct 2022
- Paragraph 3 – adds the Equality Act definition of a disability.
- Paragraph 3 – removes reference to ‘the employment tribunal or court’ following feedback that some people understood this to mean a court judgment is required in every case.