Blog by Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet on 'Reasonable Adjustments in the workplace'
We’ve recently celebrated twenty years of disability equality legislation. The Disability Discrimination Act, now part of the Equality Act 2010 came into force in November 1995. With it came the ground breaking legal concept of ‘reasonable adjustments’ – changes to be made to consumer services or in adaptations in the workplace.
A really good example of reasonable adjustment has now become quite commonplace: ramps for wheelchair and mobility-scooter users to access public buildings, shops and train stations. Though many wheelchair users (as well as mothers pushing a pram or traveller with a wheeled suitcase) might like to see more!
Other reasonable adjustments aren’t necessarily physical adaptations like ramps or accessible toilets – your local cinema chain should now be routinely showing films with subtitles or an audio description and several high street banks offer large print statements for their visually impaired customers or British Sign Language users online video interpretation to help with communication when entering their local branch.
In the workplace, HR professionals should be (and often are) aware that every UK employee has a legal right to reasonable adjustments. Making even small changes to equipment, workspace and work patterns can have a huge impact on a person's well-being, as well as boosting productivity and loyalty.
The challenge for HR is that one size never fits all. Every person’s situation is different, as it depends on the nature and extent of their disability, health condition or impairment as well as what the job requires of them.
What might work for one employee with dyslexia or arthritis, for example, might not help the next with that same or similar condition. No matter how supportive they are, managers and employers often don’t know what adjustments would be suitable or ‘reasonable’ for a given individual or situation.
It can also be very difficult to get to the bottom of how best to support your employees. Many people do not wish, or choose not, to share their disability or long-term health condition with their employer, for fear of discrimination or worse, dismissal.
This reluctance to disclose makes it hard or nearly impossible for employers to accommodate the needs of their employees. AbilityNet are proud to have worked on the development of a digital tool that creates an open and safe dialogue between employers and employees.
Clear Talents On Demand is a new, award-winning, online service that uses AbilityNet’s expertise to help employers and employees understand reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
The great thing is it demystifies reasonable adjustments and helps employers maximise productivity and minimise risk – and not just for disabled employees, it works across the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act (so age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation etc are all covered) and the relevant reasonable adjustments provided. Oh and it’s free!
Check out the video to see how it works.
VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email email@example.com for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.