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Reasonable adjustments for disabled workers - know your obligations

Several recent legal cases have highlighted a lack of clarity around what constitutes making 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled employees. So just what are employers obliged to do under the Equality Act 2010?

There are several key factors for employers to consider when deciding whether or not an adjustment is reasonable. The primary aim of any adjustment should be to help the employee get back to work as soon as possible, but any adjustment made must first be judged to be effective, affordable and practicable.

Adjustments can range from simple modifications to the working environment or the implementation of flexible working practices to the provision of specialist equipment or the offer of redeployment. In all cases, the cost has to be borne by the employer and this can pose problems for small businesses.

Many employers confess to being unsure about what constitutes a 'reasonable' adjustment and how to assess the cost-effectiveness of any changes. Acas offers an equality and diversity advisory service to help employers assess the effectiveness of current policies and practices with regards to disabled workers. Acas experts can help assess the specific needs of disabled employees and advise on what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, ensuring that employers can support disabled staff while remaining fully compliant.

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