Making a request
If someone who's disabled needs support at work it's best for them to talk to the employer as soon as possible about what they need.
Nobody has to tell their employer – or potential employer – they're disabled. But when they do, the employer has a legal responsibility to support them.
Asking for reasonable adjustments
Anyone who's disabled and who needs a reasonable adjustment should talk with their manager or employer (or their potential employer if they're applying for a job).
This is so:
- the person can explain their situation
- the employer can understand how they can help
- they can discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments together
Employers should do all they reasonably can to create an environment and recruitment process where people feel safe and comfortable to talk about disability. This can help towards someone getting the reasonable adjustments they need.
How to make a request
There are various ways someone can make a reasonable adjustment request. They could do it:
- in writing – for example in a letter or email
- in a meeting with their manager or employer
- through a formal process, if the organisation has a process set up for requesting reasonable adjustments
When making a reasonable adjustment request, someone could think about:
- what would help them manage their health and work
- what might be possible and reasonable for their employer
Any reasonable adjustments that are agreed should be confirmed in writing.
How the employer should handle a reasonable adjustment request
When someone's talking about their disability and the support they need, the employer should:
- listen to the person and try to understand how their disability affects them
- not make assumptions
- consider the person's specific situation
How to decide what reasonable adjustments are needed
Both the employer and the disabled person can suggest what reasonable adjustments might help.
Employers should take the lead from the person asking for reasonable adjustments. This is because they might have a better idea of what changes would be helpful to them.
Some adjustments might be straightforward to discuss and agree together.
The employer can consider getting medical advice if they need help to decide what adjustments are needed. For example, the employer could agree with a disabled member of staff to:
- get an occupational health assessment
- ask the person's doctor – use our template letter to an employee's doctor
An employer does not have to make adjustments that are unreasonable. However, they should still find other ways to support the disabled person.
Reviewing adjustments and keeping a record
Someone's reasonable adjustments might need to change over time. They should talk with their manager regularly to review their adjustments, and keep a record of what they've asked for and what's been put in place.
Reasonable adjustments in recruitment
Job applicants can ask for reasonable adjustments for any part of the recruitment process. For example, someone might need the application form in a different format, wheelchair access for an interview, or more time for an interview test.
Get more advice and support
If you have any questions about reasonable adjustments, you can contact the Acas helpline.