Equality and diversity

Information on making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and your legal duties

Ill health and disability

You have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees if reasonably practical. This is to ensure they are not disadvantaged in the workplace.

Disability is defined under the Equality Act 2010​ (external site) as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities.

Equality and inclusion for disabled people can involve:

  • providing them with extra support
  • changing the way in which their employment is structured
  • the removal of obstacles to carry out normal work activities

This may include employees with recognised short or long term physical or mental health conditions.

The UK Government have more information on employing disabled people and people with health conditions​.

Reasonable adjustments

You should take steps to remove, reduce or prevent the obstacles a disabled worker or job applicant encounters. You only have to make adjustments where you are aware, or should reasonably be aware, that a worker has a disability.

If you have applied and exhausted reasonable adjustments, then there may be an issue with the employee’s capability. You might require medical advice from their GP. You can use our guidance on obtaining a medical report to help you do this.

Many of the adjustments you can make will not be expensive. You do not need to do more than what is reasonably practicable. What is reasonable depends, among other factors, on the size and nature of your organisation. You can find out more on our supporting staff attendance pages.

A disabled worker can bring a claim against you in an Employment Tribunal​ (external site). This is if they can show that there were barriers you should have identified and reasonable adjustments you could have made relating to their work. You may be ordered to pay them compensation as well as make the reasonable adjustments.