Reasonable Adjustments

The legal duty to make reasonable adjustments arises where a provision, criteria or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. We are required to take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage. Various factors influence whether a particular adjustment is considered reasonable. The test of what is reasonable is ultimately an objective test and not simply a matter of what you may personally think is reasonable.

Decision-Making

When deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable the following points should be considered:

  • how effective the change will be in avoiding the disadvantage the disabled worker would otherwise experience
  • its practicality
  • the cost
  • your organisation’s resources and size
  • the availability of financial support

Involving Staff

In all cases, it is vital to involve the individual member of staff – they are often the best experts of managing their condition and will have experience of adjustments that may have worked previously. Adjustments should also be regularly reviewed - Staff Review is an ideal time to check if adjustments are helping the individual and 1-2-1 meetings should also be used to discuss the effectiveness of any support in place.

The overall aim should be, as far as possible, to remove or reduce any disadvantage faced by a disabled member of staff; the member of staff should inform their manager if they are no longer working, or if the nature of their disability changes.

Reasonable adjustments are made taking into account the individual circumstances of each particular case: each disabled member of staff will have different needs and reasonable adjustments must be determined and applied on an individual basis. Managers are responsible for implementing reasonable adjustments, with advice from the relevant HR Team, and in collaboration with - and with the agreement of - the individual member of staff. Occupational Health may make recommendations on what might constitute a reasonable adjustment, but these recommendations should be considered against the broader operational context.

Useful Links

  • Action for Blind People - a national charity which aims to enable blind and partially sighted people to enjoy equal opportunities in every aspect of their lives through work, leisure, housing and support
  • Epilepsy Action (British Epilepsy Association) - the Epilepsy Action helpline provides advice and information on all aspects of living with epilepsy 
  • Headway - promotes understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provides information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their family and carers
  • MENCAP - working with people with a learning disability, and their families and carers
  • Rethink - helping everyone affected by severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, to recover a better quality of life
  • National Society for Epilepsy (NSE) - the largest UK medical charity for epilepsy
  • Royal Association in Aid of Deaf people (RAD) - strives to meet the individual needs of deaf and deafblind people through the provision of services and the use of RAD Centres for deaf people
  • Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) 
  • Sense - resource centre in Bristol for deaf blind people
  • Scope - helps people with cerebral palsy to achieve equality in society
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