I receive many calls from clients asking about their employer’s obligations to make reasonable adjustments for their disabilities or health conditions. It is not always clear what the employer’s responsibilities are and often employees become frustrated that they are being refused simple changes which would have a hugely positive impact on their work life.
What is the duty to make reasonable adjustments?
Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure workers or employees with disabilities are not substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs.
For the purposes of the act, a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term effect on their ability to undertake normal day to day activities. The act also includes people with progressive conditions such as HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis etc even if the condition has yet to make a substantial impact on their day to day activity.
What are reasonable adjustments?
Essentially, reasonable adjustments will be those changes an employer can reasonably make which assist a disabled employee in their work and job role. Obviously, what adjustments are needed will depend upon the employee’s disability. Some of the more common reasonable adjustments our clients have requested are: –
- Changing a recruitment process involving written tests as a reasonable adjustment for a dyslexic candidate.
- Making physical changes to a work place to assist a wheelchair user.
- Making adjustments to the layout of an office and the storage of materials to assist a wheelchair user.
- Modifying a work space to create some privacy for a disabled person with social anxiety disorder.
- Changing or reducing hours of work to assist a disabled person with depression and PTSD.
- Changing the location of compulsory training to enable a wheelchair user to attend.
- Changes to hours of work and rest breaks for a disabled person with attention difficulties.
The above are all examples of reasonable adjustments we have requested for our clients. Often, our clients have faced daily struggles at work which could have been alleviated or even solved completely with some sensible and small changes being made by their employer.
What to do if you need reasonable adjustments at work?
As a starting point, you do need to ensure your employer is aware of your medical conditions and that you are a disabled person for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. If you have already thought about the reasonable adjustments you might need, you can make those suggestions to your employer directly. Please ensure that you do so in writing and keep a record of any response (including meetings).
If you are unsure what assistance you might need or equally what assistance might be available, you can request an Occupational Health Assessment from your employer. This should provide both you and your employer with information about how your disability impacts upon your employment and what reasonable adjustments need to be made to assist you.
If your initial contact as above is unsuccessful, you may find it necessary to raise a Formal Grievance against your employer. If that process remains unsuccessful, then you may have to consider submitting an Employment Tribunal Claim on the basis that your employers are in breach of their duty to you as a disabled person.
Help from Lincs Law Solicitors
If you are having difficulties at work or your employers are refusing to make reasonable adjustments to assist you, please call 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation, discussion about your situation. For more information about Lincs Law Solicitors, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors, Lincoln.