OH Today Summer 2021

Page 10


his is a topic that often becomes

litigious as many employers get it wrong, either because they

Reasonable Adjustme

Thrive Law gives

simply don’t make adjustments, or they don’t know what to do. Alternatively,

Written by Jodie Hill and C

employers make a decision not to make adjustments because they don’t think the duty is applicable or worse, they simply don’t know of their legal obligation to do so.

Where does the duty to make reasonable adjustments come from? Employers are required to put reasonable adjustments in place where they know that an applicant, employee, worker, volunteer or intern has a disability and because of this, is placed at a substantial disadvantage at work. This occurs at the point of knowing of the impact of the disability on the

individual, which could be as early as a job interview. This duty is set out at section 20 and Schedule 9 of the Equality Act 2010 (“EqA”) and essentially requires the company to adjust something in the workplace to assist in alleviating the substantial disadvantage faced by the disabled person in their role.

When does the duty arise? A company will not be obliged to make reasonable adjustments unless it knows or ought reasonably to know that the individual in question is disabled and likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage in the workplace. A company may know about a disability even where an individual has not specifically disclosed one. For example, if a staff member is in a wheelchair, or 10


Summer 2021

has a panic attack at work which their

manager sees and supports them with.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments to reduce or remove an individual’s disadvantage can arise where the individual is placed at a substantial disadvantage (in comparison with those who are not disabled) by: 1. The company’s provision criterion or practice [“PCP”]. The EHRC - Employment Statutory Code of Practice (the EHRC Code) provides an example whereby an employer has a policy that designated car parking spaces are only offered to senior managers. If a junior staff member has a mobility impairment and therefore, needs to park close to the office, it is likely to be a reasonable

TIP – ther legal requ ment for vidual to a disabilit a formal d sis for the arise.