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Factsheet: What are Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Employees?

If you are disabled, your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for you. The aim of the duty is to enable disabled employees to remain in or return to work.

As well as current employees, this duty also apples to job applicants, former employees and “workers”.

  1. Are you disabled?
  2. Does your employer need to know about your disability?
  3. When does the duty arise?
  4. What is a Provision, Criterion or Practice?
  5. What should your employer do? 
  6. Examples of possible adjustments?
  7. What is reasonable?
  8. What if your employer fails to make a reasonable adjustment?

Are you disabled?

You will be classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

See factsheet Am I Considered Disabled under the Equality Act?

Does your employer need to know about your disability?

Your employer is not obliged to make reasonable adjustments unless they know, or ought reasonably to know, that you are disabled and are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage because of your disability. Your employer should take reasonable steps and have systems in place to find out the relevant information.

When does the duty arise?

The duty will arise where you are placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled by:

  • A provision, criterion or practice (PCP) applied by your employer
  • A physical feature of you employer’s premises (e.g. the design or construction of a building, feature of an approach to, exit from or access to a building, a fixture or fitting, furniture, equipment etc); or
  • Your employer’s failure to provide an auxiliary aid

What is a Provision, Criterion or Practice?

This is interpreted widely and can include, for example, formal or informal policies, rules, practices, arrangements or qualifications including one-off decisions and actions.

What should your employer do?

Your employer must take such steps as it is reasonable to take, to avoid the disadvantage.

Examples of possible adjustments:

  • Adjustments to premises
  • Giving some of a disabled person’s duties to another person
  • Transferring a disabled person to fill an existing vacancy
  • Changing a disabled person’s working hours or place of work
  • Allowing a disabled person to be absent for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment
  • Providing training or mentoring
  • Obtaining or modifying equipment
  • Modifying procedures for testing or assessment
  • Providing supervision or other support
  • Modifying disciplinary or grievance procedures

What is reasonable?

It is for an Employment Tribunal to determine, objectively, whether a particular adjustment would have been reasonable to make in the circumstances. This is a fact sensitive question and will depend on various factors such as:

  • The extent to which the adjustment would have helped to reduce or remove the disadvantage
  • The extent to which the adjustment was practicable
  • The financial and other costs of making the adjustment
  • The extent to which the step would have disrupted the employer’s activities
  • The financial and other resources available to the employer
  • The availability of external financial or other assistance
  • The nature of the employer’s activities and the size of the undertaking

An adjustment is not reasonable if it will impose a disproportionate burden on your employer.

What if your employer fails to make a reasonable adjustment?

This is a form of discrimination and you may be entitled to make a claim at an Employment Tribunal. If successful the Tribunal may order compensation or make an appropriate recommendation.

To find out how we can help you with contact us today on 01273 609911, or email

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T: 01273 609 991

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