Reasonable Adjustments – A Requirement to Avoid Disability Discrimination

By Helen Burrowes

Senior HR Consultant

A recent tribunal found that an employer had discriminated against an employee. The case related to an employee who had requested part time working due to a medical condition.  The tribunal found that the statement from the manager indicated that the employees’ disabilities had influenced the decision not to allow a change in working hours.  In this instance the employer had not considered making reasonable adjustments to support the employee.

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Considering ‘Reasonable adjustments’

The employer is responsible for following the correct process and not to discriminate against an employee with a disability.  It is unlawful to discriminate against an employee with a disability.

Supporting the employee with reasonable adjustments will also promote good equality and inclusive practices, and encourages employees to meet their performance potential.  

Where an employee is unable to carry out their job, due to a disability, it is the responsibility of the employer to have considered making reasonable adjustments to the role, and this may include:

  • Temporary or permanent adjustments to:
    • The working pattern e.g. hours, days, breaks,
    • The tasks carried out in the role,
    • Adjustment to their work station to accommodate the disability.

Where adjustments need to be considered by the employer, advice from a medical professional is recommended. This can include reaching out to the following resources:

  • Doctors
  • Occupational health
  • Other medical professionals e.g. physiotherapists

In conjunction with the professional advice, any adjustments recommended should be discussed with the employee.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments where an employee has a disability can lead to complex and lengthy tribunal claims.

If you would like to discuss this process, then please contact our HR Consultants at Nockolds HR to discuss your case in more detail, on 0345 646 0406 or email