Tia Collins (Student)
If an employee has a disability Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments within the workplace. Reasonable adjustments are changes which an employer makes to help reduce or remove the disadvantages an employee might face due to a disability, to ensure that they are able to fulfil their role as well as someone who does not have a disability.
Any adjustments which are made must be funded by the employer and they must be reasonable. What is reasonable is subjective to the situation, for example the size of the organisation and the adjustments that are being asked for. The employer should also consider speaking with the employee to determine if the adjustment will remove or reduce the disadvantage. Other considerations which should be taken into account are if the adjustment is practical and affordable to make and whether or not it could harm the health and safety of others.
If an adjustment is not reasonable, the employer should look at other ways in which they can support their employee so that they can carry out their role. For example, if a wheelchair user requests a lift and this is unaffordable for the employer, they should try and take steps to allow the employee to solely work on the ground floor, if this is possible.
There are many ways in which an employer can make an adjustment for an employee, these include, but are not limited to:
- Making changes to the workplace; for example, providing a ramp for a wheelchair user to access the building
- Changing someone’s work arrangements; for example, working from home or a hybrid approach
- Finding different ways of doing something; for example, offering a different role
- Providing equipment, support, or services; for example, providing emails and documents in alternative formats.
Under section 21 of the Equality Act 2010, if an employer refuses to make a reasonable adjustment this can be seen as being discrimination. The first stage is to make a complaint to the employer and if the organisation has a Human Resources department, you can complain to them. If this does not resolve or the employer still refuses, you can make a claim to the employment tribunal.
Here at SULAC we can assist with employment disputes. If you would like an appointment please call 01782 294800 or email SULAC@staffs.ac.uk