The Law

A judge's gavel

The Equality Act 2010 can potentially have significant implications for people who stammer, whether at school, at work or using services.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 says that a person has a disability 'if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'. 'Substantial' means 'more than minor or trivial'.

Nearly all adult stammering is 'long-term', meaning broadly at least a year. Accordingly, a person who stammers should normally be covered by the Equality Act if the stammer has more than a minor or trivial effect on normal day-to-day activities.

Obvious examples of 'normal day-to-day activities' could be having a conversation, or using the telephone. Also, the courts have interpreted 'normal day-to-day activities' much more widely than one would expect, for example to include a high pressure exam for promotion. The tribunal focuses on what the person cannot do or has difficulty with, rather than balancing what they can and cannot do.

If you stammer

Whether you consider yourself disabled by your stammer or not is entirely up to you. 'Disability' in the Equality Act is a legal concept. It is a matter of whether you fulfil a particular legal definition. You do not need to register as disabled or regard yourself as disabled within the wider sense. 

We've set out the legal status in our pdf 'Stammering, Discrimination & the Law' which you can download below.