Reasonable Adjustments: What Are They and How To Ask For Them?

We discuss what reasonable adjustments are and your legal rights regarding them. We also explore how you could ask for these adjustments and what you could do if they aren’t given. Should you be uncertain whether you’re entitled to such adjustments, or believe your employer isn’t providing them, get in touch now. Redmans Solicitors can answer your questions and advise you on your next steps.

  1. What Are Reasonable Adjustments?
  2. How To Ask For Them
  3. What Happens If A Reasonable Adjustment Is Not Made?

What Are Reasonable Adjustments?

The Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) establishes that employers have a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments for eligible disabled individuals. Disability is defined by the EqA 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Therefore, visible and invisible disabilities come under this definition.

This legal obligation applies to any eligible disabled person who would be at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled persons if the adjustment wasn’t made. It’s important to emphasize that the disadvantage must be substantial. Therefore, if it stopped you from being able to meet your targets or caused you pain, you might be eligible.

Such disadvantages could come about when:

  • You aren’t supplied with additional equipment, known as ‘auxiliary aids’
  • Physical features in the workplace, such as there being no ramp, negatively impact your performance
  • Work rules or practices hinder your ability to work

The circumstances in each situation will be unique, meaning what is considered reasonable will differ.  Several factors, including the cost, practicality and effectiveness of making the adjustment, will help to determine if it’s reasonable. Furthermore, should it be deemed that an adjustment is reasonable, your employer is obligated to fund it.

Examples of Adjustments That Are Reasonable

Because each person’s disability will differ, the adjustments that need to be made will too. Despite this, some examples of what your employer could do to support you as a disabled employee, include:

  • Supplying you with an emotional support animal because you suffer from an anxiety disorder
  • Providing a sign language interpreter if you’re a deaf employee
  • Allowing you to take smaller, more regular breaks throughout the day due to suffering from incontinence

Contact us today if you have any questions or want to know what adjustments could be relevant to your case.

How To Ask For Them

Your employer has a legal duty to provide relevant reasonable adjustments, once you have made them aware of your disability. It is therefore important to inform your employer of your disability as soon as possible, as it allows them to understand your situation and resolve the matter promptly.

There are several ways you could request an adjustment. This could be done in writing, via a meeting or through a formal process established by your workplace. Your request should include the issue at hand and suggest adjustments deemed potentially reasonable to solve them. Supposing any adjustments are agreed on, your employer should confirm them in writing.

You may be unsure how to request an adjustment with your employer, or if you’re entitled to do so. Our solicitors can help determine your eligibility and assist you through the process. So get in touch today to learn more.

What Happens If A Reasonable Adjustment Is Not Made?

When an employer doesn’t make reasonable adjustments that a person is entitled to, they are breaching their duty of care. Under the EqA 2010, this is discrimination against a disabled person. Should you believe you’ve been discriminated against in this manner you could make an informal complaint to your employer. You could also complain through a formal complaints procedure if your workplace has one. 

However, if the issue remains after making a complaint, you might want to claim disability discrimination compensation through an employment tribunal. Supposing you want to take this route, you must begin your case three months less one day from the date your adjustment was refused.

In Tyerman v NHS Digital, the claimant requested adjustments to be made during the recruitment process due to his autism. This included obtaining the interview questions in advance and not being asked open-ended questions. NHS Digital refused to make these adjustments, stating that all applicants must be treated the same. After making an unsuccessful formal complaint, Mr Tyerman began proceedings with the Employment Tribunal. This eventually resulted in him being awarded a £20,000 settlement by NHS Digital through mediation.

If you have strong grounds to believe your employer is liable for disability discrimination and has failed to address your complaint, contact us today.

Our employment law specialists will discuss the facts of your case to determine the eligibility of your disability discrimination case. Should you have an eligible case, they could help you through the legal process.