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The Equality Act 2010 requires an employer to make reasonable adjustments to enable a disabled person to work.
These reasonable adjustments may impact on the recruitment, induction and on-going work of an individual. There is no definition of “reasonable” - it's unique to each organisation and will consider certain factors. Many reasonable adjustments are low or no cost and make a big difference to disabled employees.
These may include:
These are just some examples. Open communication between employer and employee is very important as every employee is different and will need to be treated individually, even if they have a similar impairment to another person.
The list is not exhaustive. What's reasonable can depend on many things.
How much will the adjustment cost? Can it be justified in a business sense? Many adjustments will help others too, so take that into account. Also consider the cost of re-recruiting for the role and the help available from Access to Work.
Can the same outcome be achieved by a different adjustment? It’s more likely to be reasonable for an employer to provide an adjustment which is easy, than one that is difficult to implement but if the difficult adjustment would remove a significant barrier then you would need to look at other factors.
This is about ensuring the adjustment is going to do what it sets out to achieve. If an adjustment will have little benefit in reducing the disadvantage then it is unlikely to be considered effective. Effectiveness can also change over time so it is important to review adjustments regularly as part of the standard supervision process.
Considering whether there is likely to be any disruption to others as a result of the adjustment. This is not often the case as it usually just affects the person concerned. However, an adjustment that requires another staff member to carry out different duties may or may not be reasonable.
How people see other’s reasonable adjustments depends on the culture of the workplace. If people see the reasons why things are being done then they should be more accepting of any change and recognise that it is about equal opportunities for all. It’s always important to remember Data Protection and that you should not disclose details on someone’s disability without their consent.
Not many adjustments will pose a health and safety risk. However, do consider this. Making improvements to the workplace should not have a negative effect on others.
Whilst many reasonable adjustments are made at the start of the employment relationship, there will be people who require adjustments later in their work lives. In these circumstances the manager will want to retain valuable knowledge and skills and should be considered when looking at cost.
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