If your employer rejects your request for reasonable adjustments, this can be worrying. Try to discuss this with your manager. If that does not work, you may have to take a more formal approach. You need to:
understand why your employer has rejected your request
negotiate to get what you need
be prepared to challenge discrimination
When employers make an adjustment for a disabled person, they should work with the employee to see what’s possible. The law calls this a 'reasonable adjustment'. Reasonable adjustments are not favouritism.
There is no set definition of what is 'reasonable'. Employers must consider all requests and look at the benefit to the disabled person. If employers reject a request for adjustments, they should say why. If they do not, then it could be discrimination.
Your employer may legally refuse the request you have made in some circumstances. For example, if it was too expensive or if it would disrupt other people's work. This is not discrimination.
Get a reply in writing from your employer (if you do not have one).
Why does your employer think the adjustments are not possible? Understanding this will help you to negotiate. It will also be useful evidence if you need to take things further.
If your employer will not give you a reply, get legal advice to work out if it's discrimination.
Check your employer’s policies
Your employer may have policies on reasonable adjustments. You can ask HR about these.
Look for any mention of disability or reasonable adjustments and any procedures that are attached to these. If your employer is not following their own procedures, send an email to your manager:
explaining the facts
saying what the policy says
describing what happened
asking for the policy to be followed
If your employer has good procedures and is not following them, get legal advice.
Respond to the reasons given by your employer
Think about why your employer has said that the adjustment you requested was not possible. If you disagree, email them.
Suggest ways the impact of the changes you’re asking for could be reduced.
Explain why you believe the adjustments would not cause problems.
Consider alternative adjustments
Your employer might suggest adjustments that you have not thought of. Suggest a trial period, try the adjustment and review it with your employer. If you cannot do your job with that adjustment, you will be able to show why it does not work.
Ask for an assessment
Vocational rehabilitation specialists support disabled people to stay in work. You can also get advice from:
Mediators will try to help you and your employer to find a solution. They set out rules that everyone needs to follow and avoid talking about blame. They can help you both think about things in a different way.
This can be a good option if:
your employer does not have policies covering reasonable adjustments
the situation has become confrontational
it does not look like you are going to get the adjustments you need
The mediator should have a qualification from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) or another reputable body.
Tribunals can be confrontational and stressful. They are a last resort. But, if you have good evidence, they can help you to get compensation or, in some cases, the reasonable adjustments you need to keep your job.
The time limit for making a claim is 3 months less one day from the rejection of the adjustment or a related incident.
You’re more likely to be successful in a tribunal if you can prove that your employer did not respond properly to your request for reasonable adjustments. You will have a stronger case if you can show that you’ve explored all the options. If you have not raised a grievance against your employer before a tribunal, you may get less compensation.
A legal adviser will tell you how likely you might be to win a case if it went to tribunal. Remember to check if your household insurance or union offer legal advice. No win, no fee lawyers also offer this service but you may end up sharing any compensation with them.