How is the obligation to make reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process affected by the rules on health enquiries?

Under s.20 of the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled job applicants who are disadvantaged by the recruitment process. However, s.60(1) of the Act provides that an employer must not ask a job applicant questions about his or her health before offering him or her employment. The rules about health enquiries during recruitment take the requirement to make reasonable adjustments into account. Employers are permitted to ask questions to establish whether or not applicants will be able to undergo assessments that form part of the recruitment process or if they need to make reasonable adjustments to enable applicants to undergo assessments. For example, an employer may need to give a dyslexic applicant more time to complete a written exercise or present an assessment in a different format for an applicant who is sight-impaired.

An employer can ask a job applicant, for example on the application form or in an invitation to an interview, to inform it if he or she requires special arrangements or reasonable adjustments for the purpose of attending the interview and/or undergoing an assessment that forms part of the recruitment process. Employers that ask health-related questions should include an explanation of why they are seeking this information and the questions should not go beyond the purpose of establishing whether or not reasonable adjustments are required to the recruitment process.