An employer has an obligation to make reasonable adjustments where there is a provision criterion or practice which puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people. The duty is to take such steps as is reasonable to avoid the disadvantage. Not unsurprisingly there are many cases which revolve around whether the steps the employee seeks are reasonable in the circumstances of the case.
One such case was reported recently where an employer did not waive the requirement for a disabled employee to undergo a competitive interview process in respect of an internal vacancy for which they were applying. The EAT decided that the employer did not fail in its duty to make reasonable adjustments by not waiving the requirement. Notwithstanding, the fact that an employee who has been off on long term sick may be disadvantaged by such a process where they cannot prove themselves at interview, the EAT acknowledged that it would make a nonsense of the appointment process if a business had to appoint someone with a disability rather than the best candidate for the role having undergone a competitive interview process. No doubt a thumbs-up for common sense and for employers everywhere.
Sarah King, Consultant Solicitor
Posted on Friday, 20th September 2013