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Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace

Reasonable adjustments are changes an employer can make to remove or reduce a difficulty faced by an employee because of their disability. Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments by law for employees, workers, contractors, and self-employed people hired to do work and job applicants, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

What is a reasonable adjustment?

Each disabled person’s needs differ and so will the adjustments required. Reasonable adjustments can be as simple as providing documents in a different font or colour, installing handrails or making changes to someone’s working hours to allow time for medical appointments. Speak to the person involved and ask them if there is anything that could help them, or put them in touch with an occupational health advisor – don’t make assumptions.

How do I know if an adjustment is reasonable?

An adjustment is considered reasonable if it is practical, affordable, will remove or reduce the disadvantage experienced by the employee and will not cause harm to others.

If a wheelchair user requested that a lift be installed where they work, this may not be affordable for a small business, or practical for a business in a listed building where this would be prohibited. However, the employer should consider other ways of helping, such as an accessible office on the ground floor, remote working or the offer of moving to different premises that did have lift access.

It is not considered reasonable if the adjustment changes the basic nature of the job, for example if a builder didn’t want to do any manual handling; however, there may be other, more reasonable, changes that could be made. Communication is key.

When do employers need to make reasonable adjustments?

  • When an employer is aware (or could reasonably be expected to be aware) that a person is disabled
  • When a disabled employee or job applicant specifically asks for adjustments
  • When an employee with a disability is having difficulties with some part of their work
  • When a person is absent from work because of something connected with their disability

Is there any support available?

An employee may be able to access support from Access to Work, a publicly-funded government programme which provides financial and practical support for disabled people to help them get into, and remain in, work. The basic responsibility to make and fund reasonable adjustments stays with the employer but they may be able to assist with advice and costs. More information on Access to Work can be found here.

What if an employer refuses to make reasonable adjustments?

This could be classed as disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and be subject to an employment tribunal claim.

Ensure Compliance with Stallard Kane

If you suspect an employee might require reasonable adjustments, consult your dedicated Stallard Kane advisor or contact the team at

Each situation is unique, and we're here to provide tailored guidance for your specific needs.


The information and any commentary contained within these updates are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice. Stallard Kane does not accept and, to the extent permitted by law, exclude liability to any person for any loss which may arise from relying upon or otherwise using the information contained in these blogs. If you have a particular query or issue, you are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice about your issue and not to rely solely on the information or comments in these updates.
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