Equality law recognises that achieving equality for disabled people might mean changing the way that employment is structured. This could involve removing physical barriers or providing extra support for a disabled worker or job applicant.
Reasonable Adjustments Duty
- Your employer has a duty to take steps to remove, reduce or prevent the obstacles you face as a disabled worker or job applicant (including mental health issues), where it's reasonable to do so.
- Your 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, visit our web page 'Legislation' to check your full legal rights and what to do next?
Definition of Disability - Equality Act 2010
You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
The 3 Reasonable Adjustment Requirements
- Changing the way things are done (equality law talks about where the disabled job worker is put at a substantial disadvantage by a provision, criterion or practice of their employer).
- making changes to overcome barriers created by the physical features of a workplace.
- providing extra equipment (which equality law calls an auxiliary aid) or getting someone to do something to assist you (which equality law calls an auxiliary service).
What is meant by Reasonable?
The test of what is reasonable is down to an objective test and is not a matter of what you or your employer may personally think is reasonable.
When deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable an employer should consider:
- how effective the change will be in avoiding the disadvantage you would otherwise experience
- whether it is practical
- the cost
- their organisation's resources and size
- the availability of financial support.
Your employer's overall aim should be, as far as possible, to remove or reduce any substantial disadvantage faced by you as a worker which would not be faced by a non-disabled person.
Workplace Adjustments Video
Common Adjustments for Mental health
Adjustments to the work schedule
- Allow more breaks
- Allow breaks to take place when needed, rather than a pre-determined schedule
- Change their working day to start earlier or finish later
- Allow them to use paid or unpaid leave for appointments related to their mental health
- Offer a phased return to work
- Allow part-time working on a temporary basis (or permanently if it is what the they want)
Adjustments to role and responsibilities
- Review their workload and agree what duties they can do
- Re-assign duties they may struggle with among the rest of the team
- Discuss vacant positions in the organisation and temporarily transfer them to a different role they want to do.
Adjustments to working environment
- Provide partitions, room dividers etc. to enhance soundproofing and visual barriers between workspaces
- Offer a reserved parking space to make it easier for them to get to work
- Offer homeworking for some of the week
- Increase the size of their ‘personal work space’
- Position them as far away as possible from noisy machinery
- Provide a private space for them to use when they need privacy
- Extend additional paid or unpaid leave during a hospitalisation or other absence
- Allow additional time for them to reach performance milestones
- Allow them to make certain personal phone calls during the day
Ways to provide additional support and assistance
- Assign a mentor or buddy to support and help them
- Arrange a regular one-to-one with their manager to discuss and prioritise tasks
- Provide a personal computer to enable them to work at home when they do not feel able to attend the workplace
- Offer additional training on the skills and duties their job requires
Template Letter request - Reasonable Adjustments
Dear [name of the person you are writing to],
Re: Reasonable Adjustment Request
Please accept this written request for some changes to my work arrangements. I want to be able to do my job well and making these changes will support me to do that.
[Explain how your impairment or condition affects your work. Give the facts, be specific and clear.
- the adjustments you need at work before you can start working
- future adjustments
- how this would help you do your job better
- if possible, explain how the employer can make these changes without disrupting the business. If you’re not sure how this might affect the business, ask if you can talk about this.]
I am aware that the Equality Act 2010 says that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees when a person is at a substantial disadvantage compared with an employee who is not disabled.
Employers must take reasonable steps to address this. These can include:
- changing policies, procedures and practices
- changing the physical environment
- providing extra aids and services
If it is reasonable for the employer to make a change, then it should be made.
I believe that as a disabled person, under the Equality Act 2010 I am entitled to the reasonable adjustments I have requested.
I am happy to discuss this request in more detail, but I would like to receive a written response within 14 days.