Reasonable adjustments for disabilities

Book your free initial call

    We endeavour to make an initial response to all enquiries within 24 hours but please be aware that on some occasions due to prior commitments or volume of calls we will not be able to respond in that time frame. We also operate a 48 hour return policy. This return policy means that if we have not responded with 48 hours of your initial enquiry we are unable to do so due to current workloads and we will destroy your data accordingly. This policy ensures you are not left waiting and have the certainty that your data is not compromised. In most instances however we are able to make contact within a 24 hour time frame. Please note our free initial advice service is available to clients at our total discretion and if your case is of a complex nature we may not be able to offer you a free consultation. However in these instances we will advise you what the charge would be for an initial fixed fee consultation.
  • (view our privacy statement)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It is of course well established that employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for disabled employees. What about those employees who are associated with someone with a disability?

The case of Coleman v Attridge established that claims for associative discrimination can apply to direct discrimination. Since that case of course the Equality Act 2010 has come into force which expressly provides for associative discrimination in s13 of that Act.

The Court of Appeal in the recent case of Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence has ruled that an employer is not under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for an employee who does not themselves have a disability but is associated with someone that does. Under the Equality Act the wording is such that the obligation on employers only applies where the employee or applicant for a role is disabled. In this case, Mrs Hainsworth was not disabled herself but her daughter had Down’s Syndrome which fell within the meaning of a disability under the Equality Act 2010. She wanted a transfer back to the UK so that her daughter could access specialist educational facilities. Her request was refused and she brought a claim that her employer had failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments which was unsuccessful. The Court of Appeal said that any attempt to stretch the meaning of the Act or the Directive behind it was “doomed to failure”.

Written by
Robin Aston
24th July 2014