What are reasonable adjustments, and how to ask for them

Workers with disabilities or health conditions are legally entitled to reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 – here’s how to speak to your employer about them

Being diagnosed with a neurological condition often means so much more than a change in your health. You may feel you can no longer work in the ways you used to, or worry about workplace discrimination.

In this guest article, The Brain Charity’s Employment Law and Welfare Officer Aneeta Bibi shares how to ask your employer for reasonable adjustments.

What are reasonable adjustments?

A ‘reasonable adjustment’ is a change that must be made to remove or reduce a disadvantage related to:

  • An employee’s disability when doing their job
  • A job applicant’s disability when applying for a job

Reasonable adjustments must be effective, practical, and significant. A reasonable adjustment could involve making changes to:

  • The workplace
  • Equipment or services provided, for example an appropriate keyboard for someone with arthritis
  • The ways things are done
  • An individual’s working pattern

The law behind disability and reasonable adjustments

You are considered disabled under theEquality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Under the Equality Act 2010, there is a legal duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. The Act recognises that solutions may vary according to individual circumstances.

When should I disclose my disability?

Disclosing a disability to a current or potential employer can be a stressful but necessary step. The fear of discrimination, unconscious bias and other negative consequences leads many to withhold information about their physical or mental health from others.

However, telling an employer about a disability — be it visible, like cerebral palsy, or invisible, like chronic migraine — may be necessary to receive adequate accommodations to perform your job.

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