Acas Disability Discrimination Research

This study will help Acas better understand workplace disability discrimination cases and improve the services they offer.

About the study

Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration service) has asked the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to carry out this study to better understand disability discrimination cases and why some proceed to Employment Tribunal claims and hearings. 

Acas offers a conciliation service that aims to resolve disputes between employees and employers, and resolve cases at an earlier stage. Recently, there has been a rise in the number of disability discrimination claims that are not resolved during the initial conciliation process, and proceed to Employment Tribunal claims and hearings. The research seeks to understand:

  • The circumstances surrounding such cases;
  • Employees’ and employers’ experiences of such cases; and,
  • Why cases are not being resolved, either at the initial conciliation stage or at all.

What does the research involve?

If you decide to take part, you will take part in an online or telephone interview with a NatCen researcher lasting up to one hour. This interview will take place in February / March 2024 and will be conducted via MS Teams or telephone. 

During the interview, you will be asked to share and reflect on your experiences of the disability discrimination case, and why it was not able to be resolved through conciliation, either at all or in the first instance. We will not discuss the same cases with an employer and employee.

Employers who responded to a claim of discrimination will be asked to discuss: 

  • the circumstances surrounding a disability discrimination claim; 
  • how you responded to it and the process by which it was handled, including the outcome of the case; 
  • your experience with conciliation; and,
  • if relevant, your experience of the Employment Tribunal.

For more information, please see the information leaflet for employers below.

Information leaflet – employers

Employees who made a claim of discrimination will be asked to discuss:

  • the circumstance and journey of your disability discrimination claim and how your employer responded, including the outcome of your case; 
  • your experience with conciliation; and,
  • if relevant, your experience of the Employment Tribunal. 

For more information, please see the information leaflet for employees below.

Information leaflet – employees/claimants

There are no right or wrong answers, we just want to hear about your views and experiences. But you may want to re-familiarise yourself with the claim by reviewing any relevant documentation before the interview.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. You can choose to withdraw at any time without giving a reason. You can also choose not to answer any questions during the interview.  

Why have I been selected to take part? 

We are contacting you because Acas’ records show you are either:

  • An employee who submitted a claim for disability discrimination to the employment tribunal and were offered Acas conciliation as part of that claim; or
  • An employer who responded to a claim for disability discrimination and were offered Acas conciliation as part of that claim.

Who will have access to my information?

Only the research team at NatCen will have access to your personal information. This information is stored securely in line with data protection legislation. 

With your permission we will audio record the interview to have an accurate record of what was said. NatCen will share the audio recording of your interview with McGowan, our trusted transcription agency for them to transcribe the interview. McGowan Transcriptions is on NatCen’s approved supplier list and compliant with our strict information security requirements. They will not have access to any other information about you. 

We will not tell anyone, including Acas, that you have taken part or what you specifically have said. We will use what you say to write a report for Acas, but in the report we will not name any individuals or organisations so it will not be possible to identify you.

At the end of the project, NatCen will securely delete all of the personal information. 

Please see the privacy notice for more details.

Why should I take part?

Taking part in this research will help Acas improve its conciliation service, and better understand the characteristics, nature, and drivers of disability discrimination cases. Your contribution could help Acas to understand how they can advise employers and employees about how to prevent disability discrimination cases arising, and fulfil its mission to ‘to make working life better for everyone in Britain’.

If you take part in an interview, NatCen will offer you a shopping voucher, or NatCen can make a charitable donation on your behalf, as a thank you for your time.

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research agency. For over 50 years, NatCen has been working with the public, employers and organisations to find out what people really think about the issues they experience. NatCen will conduct and analyse the interviews and write a report for Acas.

Contact us

If you have any questions about NatCen or about this study, please contact the research team on: or call us for free on 0808 168 2153.

You can also contact the Acas research team by email at

You can also visit the Acas website for more information about this research:

You can read more about this research, including how your data will be used here:

Advice and support organisations

NatCen is an independent, not for profit organisation, which carries out social policy research. We are aware that taking part in an interview about your experiences of Disability Discrimination, or managing such a case, may raise issues which you might like further advice and support about. 

This leaflet has been put together by NatCen to provide you with some services and telephone numbers which you may find useful. Some of these organisations have helplines which you can call, email or message on a live webchat if you need advice or support. If you are worried about your condition or mental health and need further support, please contact your GP.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

RNIB is a charity that helps blind and partially sighted people across the UK with living with sight loss, finding assistive technology, accessing financial help and more. They are open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.


Call: 0303 123 9999


RNID – National hearing loss charity

RNID is a charity that supports people who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. Their helpline is available 8am – 8pm on weekdays and 9am – 1pm on Saturdays. Texts are charged at your standard network rate.


Call: 0808 808 0123

Text: 07360 268 988


Webchat services: available on the website


Scope are a disability equality charity in England and Wales who provide practical information and emotional support. Scope can provide advice and support for individuals with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, those with Special Educational Needs and those with mental health issues, as well as assisting those with physical disabilities in accessing appropriate equipment and services. Their helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, and Saturday to Sunday 10am to 6pm.


Call: 0808 800 3333


Versus Arthritis 

Versus Arthritis is a charity that supports people with arthritis and their families. Their helpline is available Monday–Friday, 9am–6pm. Please note, their helpline is closed from 12:00pm on the last Friday of every month for training.


Call: 0800 5200 520


MacMillan Cancer Support

Macmillan offers support, information and resources for people living with cancer and their loved ones. Their support line is open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm. Opening times may vary for different specialist teams. 


Call: 0808 808 00 00

Webchat services: available on the website 

Email: form available on the website 

National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society is a charity that supports autistic people and their families with advice, guidance, and services. 


Online community: available on their website 


Mind is a mental health charity in England and Wales that offers information, advice and support to people with mental health problems. The Infoline provides an information and signposting service. It provides information about mental health problems, where to get help near you, treatment options and advocacy services. It is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).


Call: 0300 123 3393 (Phone calls from UK landlines are charged at local rates. The charge for your call will depend on your mobile phone provider and the contract that you have with them.) 

Webchat service: available on the website

Campaign against Living Miserably

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is a charity based in England. CALM run a free, confidential and anonymous helpline as well as a webchat service, offering help, advice and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis.


Call: 0800 58 58 58. Open 5pm to Midnight, 365 days a year. 

Webchat - Open 5pm to Midnight, 365 days a year.

Help For Heroes

Help For Heroes is the leading charity for veterans and their families in the UK, offering life-changing support, no matter when or where they served.


Assistance: form available on the website 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice offers online and in-person advice on various topics, such as bills, benefits, grants, council tax, and more. Their phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (not available on public holidays). 


Call: 0800 144 8848 (England), 0800 702 2020 (Wales)

Webchat service: available on the website