Disability Discrimination: Reasonable Adjustments Guidance

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Posted on 29 Oct 2010

In Secretary of State for Work & Pensions v Wakefield, the EAT has confirmed the test, as set out in the case of Environment Agency v Rowan, for determining whether an employer is liable for claims for failing to make reasonable adjustments.  Therefore, the Tribunal is required to determine:

  • The provision, criterion or practice applied by the employer (and/or the physical feature of the premises occupied by the employer).
  • The identity of non-disabled comparators (where appropriate).
  • The nature and extent of the substantial disadvantage suffered by the claimant.
  • On the basis of the substantial disadvantage suffered by the claimant, how will the proposed adjustments would alleviate the disadvantage in question?

This case was decided under the old Disability Discrimination Act 1995.  However, it will provide useful guidance for cases determined under the new Equality Act 2010’s disability provisions.  Clearly if an employer can present evidence on these bases, then any reasonable adjustments claim should be defeated.

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