Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Employees
What are Reasonable Adjustments?
Under Section 20 of The Equality Act 2010 employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent their disabled employees, or those applying for positions within the company, from suffering a disadvantage when compared to other employees.
Factors such as economic and practical viability will be taken into consideration when determining what constitutes reasonable for the purposes of making adjustments. A larger employer with a greater number of staff members would find it harder to argue that adjustments were not reasonable.
There are three requirements under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments.
(1) Where a provision, criterion or practice of a company puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage [...] in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.
(2) Where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage[...] in comparison with someone who is not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage
(3) Where a disabled person would, but for the provision of auxiliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage [...] in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide auxiliary aid.
What are Reasonable Steps
- The extent to which the step would prevent the effect in question
- The extent to which the step was practicable
- The financial and other costs that would be incurred and the extent to which the person’s activities would be disrupted
- The extent of the person’s financial and other resources
- The availability of financial and other assistance
- That nature of the activities and the size of the undertaking
In basic terms this means that the cost of making the adjustment, the effect on the employer’s business and how effective the adjustment would be in removing the disadvantage.
Examples of Reasonable Adjustments
Many adjustments may have little or no cost associated with them. Where there is a cost a small amount of funding available to help employers meet the needs of their disabled employees by making reasonable adjustments. It is worth considering grants and help available from charities and government support such as the Access to Work Scheme.
Possible adjustments might include:
- Purchasing ergonomic chairs or special keyboards
- Allowing more flexibility in working hours
- Moving furniture to allow space for wheelchair access
- Discounting disability related absence when calculating sick pay.
- Providing a disabled parking bay.
- Reassigning some elements of a role to other staff.
- Allowing guide dogs in the workplace.
- Providing quiet space in order to take breaks.
- Allowing work from home where possible.
- Providing a physically disabled person a workspace on the ground floor
- Allowing a person suffering from a social anxiety disorder to opt out of a hot desking system.
- Providing text to speech software
What to Do if your Employer Fails to make Reasonable Adjustments
If you require reasonable adjustments to be made so that you are not put at an unfair disadvantage you should, in the first instance, talk to your employer and consider submitting an official grievance. If your employer continues to fail to offer you assistance then call our legal helpline for free no obligation advice on 0800 014 8727.