As an employer, you need to create a workplace that is accessible and inclusive to all employees, including those with disabilities. The Equality Act 2010, requires employers to make reasonable adjustments. They need to ensure that employees with disabilities are not placed at a disadvantage. However, there may be instances where an employer cannot make a reasonable adjustment.
What is a reasonable adjustment?
A reasonable adjustment is a change or adaptation made by an employer to remove or reduce any disadvantage faced by a disabled employee. The adjustment should enable the employee to perform their role to the best of their ability. Employees should be treated fairly and equally to their non-disabled colleagues. Reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace, working arrangements, or any other aspect of employment.
What if an employer is not able to make a reasonable adjustment?
There may be instances where an employer cannot make a reasonable adjustment. Reasons such as the adjustment being too costly, impractical or causing undue hardship to the business. In such cases, the employer should explore other options and discuss them with the employee. It is important to note that an employer must still comply with the law and consider alternative options to make reasonable adjustments.
Examples of alternative options
If an employer cannot make a reasonable adjustment, they should consider alternative options enabling the employee to carry out their role effectively. Some examples of alternative options include:
- Redeploying the employee to a more suitable role within the business.
- Adjusting the employee’s working hours or patterns to accommodate their disability, where possible.
- Providing employees with additional training or support enables them to carry out their roles effectively.
How to comply with employment law
Employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010. If an employer is not able to make a reasonable adjustment, they must still comply with the law by exploring alternative options that would enable the employee to carry out their role effectively. Employers should:
- Identify any potential barriers faced by employees with disabilities in the workplace.
- Consult with the employee to understand their needs and preferences.
- Consider making reasonable adjustments to remove or reduce any disadvantage the employee faces.
- If an adjustment is not possible, explore alternative options to enable the employee to perform their role effectively.
Making reasonable adjustments in the workplace is crucial to ensure that employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged. While an employer may not always be able to make a reasonable adjustment, they must still comply with the law and explore alternative options. Employers can create a workplace that is inclusive and accessible to all employees, regardless of their disabilities, by understanding what a reasonable adjustment means and following the guidance provided.