Employers have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' in the workplace. This includes physical changes or changes in procedure to reduce or remove disadvantages to applicants or employees. These adjustments don't mean you're receiving preferential treatment, they allow you to overcome difficulties others don't have to deal with.
Although the Equality Act doesn't define what is 'reasonable', all employing organisations, regardless of their size, can, and should, make adjustments.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include:
- Allowing flexible working hours.
- Using modified equipment, such as a screen reader or a textphone.
- Making physical adjustments to premises.
- Providing instructions and manuals in accessible formats.
- Providing a clear job description and task assignments.
- A gradual induction process.
- A transfer to another place of work or post of equal standing.
The responsibility is on the employer to provide adjustments. They may ask about your disability to help them make reasonable adjustments, but they mustn't use that information to discriminate. Certain disabilities can exclude individuals from some areas of employment. For example, it's unlikely that a visually impaired person would become an airline pilot, but all reasonable alternatives should be explored.
Access to Work (external site) is a government scheme that provides grants to people with disabilities so they can do their job effectively. The grant helps pay for practical support such as:
- Specialist equipment
- Disability awareness training for work colleagues
- A communicator at a job interview and in work
Remember you may be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to your particular disability. Working with your employer, you may be able to find a very simple solution with little or no disruption or expense.
There is more information in our In Work section.