This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Teresa May to recognise endometriosis under the equality act 2010

This is a debilitating illness that affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. It's a chronic condition that causes painful and heavy periods. It has a significant impact on a woman's life in a number of ways including chronic pain, fatigue and depression. The cause is unknown and there is no definitive cure.

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Women who suffer often face criticism from their employer and sometimes can lead to them leaving employment. Women endure so much when they are suffering and may even be faced with infertility. The last thing they need is to worry about their work life. Endometriosis needs to be formally recognised under the equality act 2010. In other countries it is recognised as a disability.

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

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Government responded

This response was given on 10 July 2017

The Equality Act protects anyone with a physical or mental impairment causing substantial, long-term effect on daily activities from discrimination, avoiding the need to list specific conditions.

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The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. ‘Long-term’ is described as having lasted or likely to last for at least 12 months, or likely to last for the rest of a person’s life. ‘Substantial’ is defined as more than minor or trivial.

If any person has a condition whose effect falls within the definition of a disability, the Act will confer on them a number of protections, such as protection from direct discrimination or benefitting from the requirement that an employer or service provider make reasonable adjustments for that person. This will apply to women with endometriosis in the same way that it would apply to people with any other condition that would meet the criteria for a disability. It is not necessary to have an official medical diagnosis in order to meet the criteria under the Act, although this may help, as long as the person can demonstrate the substantial and long term effect of their condition. Official guidance on factors to be taken into account when determining what illness could fall under the definition of disability is available at:

Employers and service providers alike are required to ensure that disabled people are not treated less favourably compared to those who are not disabled and must make reasonable adjustments for them to avoid placing them at a disadvantage. In the case of service providers, such as shops or restaurants, they have the additional duty of having to anticipate the reasonable adjustments that their disabled service-users may require. This could include providing a shelf or a table in disabled toilets, on which users can place their equipment and accessories or step-free access to the premises to enable wheelchair users to enter and exit more easily.

The Act does not, except in a few specific instances (e.g. cancer, HIV & MS), mention by name any medical conditions that constitute a disability within the meaning of the Act, as it is, in most cases, the impact on the person’s life that is the qualifying criteria rather than the condition itself.

Government believes that this is a more effective way of protecting those with impairments since the severity and duration of many conditions can vary so greatly between individuals, as would the impact on the individual’s day-to-day life.

For further advice, people can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), which provides free bespoke advice and in-depth support to individuals with any discrimination concerns. The EASS can be contacted via its website -, or it can be contacted by telephone on 0808 8000082 (or by text phone on 0808 8000084).

Employees can also contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) if they have work related concerns. Acas provides authoritative and impartial advice free to employees or employers to help prevent or resolve workplace problems via their website ( and telephone helpline (08457 47 47 47).

Government Equalities Office