What are reasonable adjustments?
Equality law recognises that achieving equality for disabled people may mean changing the way that employment is structured.
This could be removing physical barriers or providing extra support for a disabled worker or job applicant.
This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Your employer has a duty to take steps to remove, reduce or prevent the obstacles you face as a disabled worker or job applicant, where it's reasonable to do so.
The employer only has to make adjustments where they are aware – or should reasonably be aware – that you have a disability.
Who pays for the adjustments?
Your employer pays for the adjustments.
Many of the adjustments your employer can make will not be particularly expensive, and they are not required to do more than it is reasonable for them to do.
What is reasonable depends, among other factors, on the size and nature of your employer's organisation.
Bringing a claim against your employer
You can bring a claim against your employer in the Employment Tribunal if:
- you are a disabled worker, and
- you can show that there were barriers your employer should have identified and reasonable adjustments your employer could have made, and
- your employer does nothing
Your employer may be ordered to pay you compensation as well as make the reasonable adjustments.
A failure to make reasonable adjustments counts as unlawful discrimination.
Knowing your rights
If you need adjustments, this isn't a valid reason for your employer to dismiss you or not promote you if you're the best person for the job with the adjustments in place. (This is providing the adjustments are reasonable).
Your employer must consider your needs in relation to every aspect of your job.
Deciding what adjustments you need
Many factors will be involved in deciding what adjustments to make.
This will depend on your individual circumstances.
Different people will need different changes, even if they appear to have similar impairments.
Talking to your employer
It is advisable for your employer to discuss the adjustments with you, otherwise any adjustments they make may not be effective.
Last updated: 29 Sep 2022