Adjustments at Work

External guidance on 'reasonable adjustments' in the workplace: 

What is meant by 'reasonable' by the EHRC: Disability, Equality Act

Employers only have to do what is reasonable.  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. 

When deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable you can consider: 

  • 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

The overall aim should be, as far as possible, to remove or reduce any disadvantage faced by a disabled worker. 

For employees, the duty contains three requirements that apply in situations where a disabled person would otherwise be placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with people who are not disabled:

  1. The first requirement involves changing the way things are done (equality law talks about where the disabled job worker is put at a substantial disadvantage by a provision, criterion or practice of their employer).
  2. The second requirement involves making changes to overcome barriers created by the physical features of a workplace.
  3. The third requirement involves providing extra equipment (which equality law calls an auxiliary aid) or getting someone to do something to assist you (which equality law calls an auxiliary service).

General adjustments listed by the Health and Safety Executive

Examples of adjustments to working arrangements include: 

  • allowing a phased return to work;
  • changing individual's working hours;
  • providing help with transport to and from work;
  • arranging home working, providing a safe environment can be maintained;
  • allowing an employee to be absent from work for rehabilitation treatment.

Examples of adjustments to premises include: 

  • moving tasks to more accessible areas;
  • making alterations to premises.

Examples of adjustments to a job include:

  • providing new or modifying existing equipment and tools;
  • modifying work furniture;
  • providing additional training;
  • modifying instructions or reference manuals;
  • modifying work patterns and management systems;
  • arranging telephone conferences to reduce travel;
  • providing a buddy or mentor;
  • providing supervision;
  • reallocating work within the employee's team;
  • providing alternative work.