Disability and Employment Policy


The University of Bristol believes that excellence will be achieved through recognising the value of every individual. We aim to create an environment that respects the diversity of staff and enables them to achieve their full potential: to contribute fully, and to derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement in the life of the University.

We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity for disabled staff during the course of their employment and to eliminating any discrimination or harassment that may occur. 


For the purposes of this policy the following definition of a disabled person will apply, as set out in the Equality Act 2010: 

A disabled person is someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has an effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.  That effect must be: 

  • Substantial (that is, more than minor or trivial), and
  • Adverse, and
  • Long-term (that is, it has or is likely to last for at least a year or the rest of the life of the person affected).

Physical or mental impairment includes hidden impairments such as mental illness, dyslexia, diabetes and epilepsy.  A person with HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis is automatically treated as disabled under the Act from point of diagnosis. 

Reasonable Adjustments

The University aims to support disabled staff by making reasonable adjustments wherever practicable to do so to prevent any disadvantage. Although the disabled person will be asked to indicate the types of adjustment that may be helpful, what constitutes a reasonable adjustment is ultimately a managerial decision and will be made within the parameters of the following factors:

  • The effectiveness of the adjustment in preventing any disadvantage
  • The financial and other costs of the adjustment and the extent of any disruption caused
  • The extent of the University’s financial or other resources
  • The availability to the University of financial or other assistance to help make an adjustment


The University recognises its obligations under the Equality Act not to discriminate unlawfully against any persons with a disability at any stage of their employment.  To this end we will seek to: 

  • support disabled people during the course of their recruitment and employment through making reasonable adjustments wherever practicable to do so
  • assess all relevant employment-related procedures to ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people in accordance with the procedure for equality risk assessment
  • create a positive working environment for all staff where discrimination arising from disability and harassment are not tolerated  

University Council is legally responsible for ensuring that the University properly discharges its duties under the Equality Act 2010. 

Managers are responsible for determining the practicality of any identified reasonable adjustment, taking account of information received from the disabled member of staff and/or Occupational Health or other University nominated health professionals, and in consultation with the relevant Faculty Personnel Manager, the Organisational Development Manager (Diversity), and/or Health and Safety Office as appropriate.  

Each member of staff is strongly encouraged to inform the University of any disability that may require a reasonable adjustment during the course of their employment.  Any information disclosed voluntarily will be safeguarded within the regulations set by the Data Protection Act 1998. 

All University staff are expected to operate within the parameters of this policy and the attendant Staff Guide on Disability.    

Endorsed by University Council July 2010