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Alzheimer's disease or dementia can affect people of any age, but as such conditions are more common in older people, many people have already retired when they are diagnosed. However, at least 17,000 people in the UK are living with early onset dementia that developed before the age of 65. Many such people are able to continue working, particularly in the early stages of their condition, and wish to do so.

The Equality Act 2010 (England and Wales) protects anyone who has a disability, including people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Under the Act employers must make reasonable adjustments for employees so that they are not disadvantaged at work.

Reasonable adjustments could include:

  • Reallocating a task to another employee
  • Moving an employee's desk to a quieter area
  • Changing the way that something is done
  • Changing physical features of the work environment
  • Providing extra equipment or someone to assist the person to meet their changing needs
  • Flexible working
  • Time off to attend medical appointments.

The employer may be entitled to financial assistance to help meet the cost of supporting the person with Alzheimer's at work, possibly through Access to Work via Jobcentre Plus.

The Equality Act also protects people who experience discrimination because they are associated with someone who has a disability, such as their carer. Carers also have the right to request flexible working, and the right to request time off to look after dependents in an emergency.

Making a claim

If your employer does not consult with you, carry out the necessary checks and investigations and make any reasonable adjustments required, your work may suffer. In some circumstances you may find that you are dismissed on the basis that you are unable to carry out the role. If this is the case then you may be entitled to claim against your employer for disability discrimination.

There is no minimum length of employment required to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal, but it is important to lodge your claim within 3 months of the act of discrimination occurring. It is therefore essential that you take legal advice on your situation at an early stage and as soon as possible.

If you think you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, please phone Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar, or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 or complete the form on the right. Lawson-West offer free initial consultations so it won't cost you a penny to find out if you have a claim. We also run a number of free drop-in advice clinics at our offices in Leicester, Wigston & Market Harborough.

Lawson-West will make sure that your disability discrimination claim is funded on the most appropriate basis and that will often be on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that Lawson-West have a vested interest in ensuring your employment claim is successful.