Reasonable adjustments

Asking for reasonable adjustments

If an employee or job applicant finds there’s a disadvantage because of their disability, it’s best for them to talk to the employer as soon as possible about what they need.

Nobody has to tell an employer they have a disability. But sometimes an employer might need to understand any effects of the disability on workplace health and safety.

Employees

An employee who needs a reasonable adjustment should talk with their manager or employer.

It’s a good idea to meet so:

  • the employee can explain their situation
  • the employer can understand how they can help
  • they can discuss and agree on possible adjustments together

It’s also a good idea to put anything agreed in writing.

Job applicants

Employers should ask all job applicants if they need reasonable adjustments for any part of the recruitment process.

The employer must consider making reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process if the:

  • job applicant asks for reasonable adjustments
  • job applicant says they have a disability
  • employer knows, or could be expected to know, of the disability

It’s against the law for employers to ask applicants if they have a disability.

Offering the job

If the employer wants to offer the job to an applicant they’ve made reasonable adjustments for, by law they can only ask the following questions:

  • if the reasonable adjustments are suitable
  • if the applicant can do essential parts of the job and, in principle only, whether reasonable adjustments might be needed
  • in very rare circumstances, if the applicant has a specific disability that’s an ‘occupational requirement’

The employer could also ask if there’s anything they can do to improve their workplace through positive action for people with disabilities.

The employer must be careful not to discriminate if they ask these questions.

After offering the job, the employer can ask the successful applicant:

  • what reasonable adjustments they need to do the job and progress at work
  • if necessary, other appropriate health-related questions depending on the nature of the job, for example an eyesight test to be a lorry driver

Find out more about avoiding discrimination when hiring someone.