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Office of the President and Provost (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion)

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What is a Reasonable Adjustment?

A cornerstone of the Equality Act 2010 is the duty to make a reasonable adjustment.  This requires employers to take positive steps to ensure that people with a disability, impairment, mental or physical health condition can access and progress in employment.

A Reasonable Adjustment is any step or steps UCL can reasonably take to prevent any provision, criterion or practice, or any physical feature of its premises, from putting a disabled person at a disadvantage in comparison with a non-disabled person.

Factors to be weighed up in determining reasonableness are:

  • how effective the adjustment is in preventing the disadvantage
  • how practical it is
  • the cost of making the adjustment*
  • the potential disruption caused
  • the time, effort and resources involved
  • amount of resources already spent on making other adjustments
  • the availability of financial or other help.*

Cost can be a major factor when deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable. The majority of adjustments are relatively inexpensive if not free.

It is important to remember that it is the resources of UCL as a whole that must be considered and not just your department, division or faculty.


Examples of reasonable adjustments

The place to start is always with the person needing the adjustment.  They will often know exactly what is needed to remove a particular barrier they face.  

Where they are not sure about what a suitable adjustment may be, or there is disagreement about options advice can be sought from UCL's Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service (OHW). The line manager can seek advice from the HR Business Partnering Team when agreeing reasonable adjustments.

  • Making adjustments to premises – for example, structural or physical changes such as widening a doorway or moving furniture for a wheelchair user
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment, electronic or other materials, provision of aids and adaptions – for example, adapted keyboard for a visually impaired person or someone with arthritis.
  • Additional support and/or help with personal care
  • Allowing the disabled person to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment - for example, to attend physiotherapy or group therapy or to undertake employment rehabilitation
  • Allocating some of the disabled person's duties to another person - for example, if a job occasionally involves taking files to another floor, this task could be transferred away from someone with restrictions on their mobility
  • Altering the disabled person's working hours - for example, allowing flexible working hours to enable additional breaks to overcome fatigue or changing hours to fit in with the availability of a support worker or driver
  • Providing additional services such as a reader, sign language interpreter or materials in Braille
  • Training staff to work with disabled people and to provide appropriate adjustments
  • Giving the disabled person, or arranging for them to be given, training - this could be training in the use of particular pieces of equipment unique to the disabled person, or anything appropriate for all employees but that needs altering because of the disability or finding new ways of the disabled person using existing, proven skills
  • Organising a gradual re-entry to the job to rebuild confidence and check adjustments are effective - the OHW provides advice on this
  • Transferring the disabled person to fill an existing vacancy - if an employee becomes disabled, or has a disability which worsens, so they cannot carry on with their current role, and there is no reasonable adjustment which would enable them to do so, then the disabled person should be considered for any suitable alternative posts available
  • Assigning the disabled person to a different place of work - for example, moving the person to other premises, if this is possible or appropriate.

Find out more about funding reasonable adjustments.