Disability discrimination

Ashok Kanani Editor's message: The duty to make reasonable adjustments is an important and unique feature of disability discrimination law. One of the situations in which the duty is triggered is where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice that subjects a disabled person to a substantial disadvantage.

Under the duty, employers must take reasonable steps to remove that disadvantage. Employer may do this by, for example, allocating some of the disabled person's duties to another person, changing his or her hours or place of work or modifying disciplinary or grievance procedures.

The cost of making such steps can vary enormously and employers must remember that cost is only one of the factors that they should take into account when deciding whether a particular step is reasonable. It is important to bear in mind that a failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments may constitute disability discrimination.

For information on the legal requirements of the duty, see Employment law manual > Equality and human rights > Disability discrimination > Reasonable adjustments, and for practical guidance on how to comply with the duty, see How to > How to support an employee who becomes disabled.

Ashok Kanani, employment law editor

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