Adjustments and disability

Equality, diversity and inclusiveness is at the heart of the University. Find out how we can help you before, during and after the application process.

We want to support disabled applicants and members of staff as well as their line managers and colleagues. We hope you will find these pages useful in finding the information you need to make sure you have a workplace that does not exclude anyone and that meets the ambitions of the University values. We are guided by the Equality Act 2010 and by the University’s policies and procedures.

This information covers:

  • How to disclose a disability or medical condition – and why
  • How we define disability
  • An overview of University of Surrey policies and procedures


We strongly encourage you to disclose any disability or medical condition at any time of your contact with the University of Surrey:

  • When you apply for a job here
  • When you start work here
  • At any other time while employed here

Find out more about disclosing a disability or medical condition and read the specific guidance applicable for you:

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, most 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:

  • Substantial: More than minor or trivial.
  • Long-term: The effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 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

Policies, procedures and information that may be relevant:

Useful links and resources

Find contact information and websites for support services.

Contact us

If you want to know more or have any questions, please email