Disability – Reasonable Adjustments

Equality law recognises that bringing about equality for disabled people may mean changing the way in which employment is structured, the removal of physical barriers and/or providing extra support for a disabled worker. This is known as the duty to make reasonable adjustments. The duty aims to make sure that, as far as is reasonable, a disabled worker has the same access to everything that is involved in doing and keeping a job as a non-disabled person. When this duty arises, employers are under a positive and proactive duty to take steps to remove or reduce or prevent the obstacles a disabled worker or job applicant faces. An employer will only have to make adjustments where you are aware – or should reasonably be aware – that a worker has a disability. Many of the adjustments employers can make will not necessarily be expensive, and employers are not required to do more than what is reasonable. What is reasonable depends, among other factors, on the size and nature of the employer’s organisation. If, however, an employer does nothing, and a disabled worker can show that there were barriers, which should have been identified and reasonable adjustments could have been made, they can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal, compensation may be ordered as well as an Order to make the reasonable adjustments.