26 May 2015

Employer does not necessarily have to make adjustments sought by disabled employee

Employers considering adjustments for a disabled employee must act reasonably, but that does not mean they automatically have to accept that what the employee wants is reasonable.

An employee was on sick leave for almost a year with a spine condition. Her employer offered adjustments so she could return to her existing job, however she wanted to change jobs. She applied for a number of finance and sales jobs with her employer but refused receptionist/switchboard jobs on grounds she was over-qualified. There were a number of meetings and reviews.

Eventually, the employer set her a time limit during which she could either obtain one of the available jobs with the employer, or return to her old one with the adjustments offered. She was subsequently dismissed on grounds of capability, and unsuccessfully claimed (among other things) disability discrimination.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the employer's duty when considering adjustments was to behave reasonably, not simply to accept what the employee proposed as reasonable adjustments.

Operative date

Now

Recommendation

Employers considering adjustments for a disabled employee must act reasonably, but do not automatically have to accept what the employee requests by way of adjustments.

Case ref:

Makuchova v Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Ltd UKEAT/0279/14/DA

If you have any queries regarding this topic, or want to know how this could affect your business, please contact Ian Dawson on 0113 297 7735 or at idawson@shulmans.co.uk.