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Reasonable Adjustments

Where someone meets the definition of a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to anything which may place a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, both during the recruitment process as well as in the fulfilment of the role.

A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

Definition of a Disability
Equality Act 2010

This includes physical disability, specific learning difficulty or mental health condition.

The statutory duty to make reasonable adjustments arises when the employer knows or could reasonably be expected to know that a particular individual or individuals with disabilities are applying (or may apply) and they are likely to be substantially disadvantaged by the premises or arrangements for selection, or the format of the information provided etc.

This duty is anticipatory and continuing. This means employers need to plan ahead and anticipate the requirements and adjustments that might need to be made. Employers also need to make Reasonable Adjustments even when there is no advance warning.

Reasonable Adjustments Can Include:

  • Making adaptations during the recruitment process e.g. completion of a written test on a computer, additional time for activities, information in alternative formats
  • Pre-start/induction opportunities
  • Alternative ways of working, e.g. allowing someone with social anxiety disorder to have their own desk instead of hot-desking
  • Making physical changes e.g. changing IT equipment
  • Adaptations to working practices, e.g. extra breaks, greater supervision

It should be noted that an employer should not ask about whether an applicant about their health and disability as well until the position has been offered to that person. However, below are some things that you can do instead.

  • You can ask an individual if they require any reasonable adjustments at each stage of the recruitment and selection process.
  • You can ask individuals if they are able to undertake particular assessments to test suitability for the role.
  • You can ask individuals questions regarding their ability to carry out an intrinsic function of the job role. For example, if a job requires a lot of manual handling, all candidates could be asked if they could manage handling heavy goods. 
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More Support on Reasonable Adjustments

For more support on your requirements under the Equality Act see "Guidance for Small Businesses and human rights' on the 'Equality and Human Rights Commission' website.

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