Reasonable Accommodation

What is ‘Reasonable Accommodation’?

‘Reasonable accommodation’ is where an employer makes a change to the tasks and structure of a job, or makes changes to the workplace environment so that an employee with a disability can fully do the job and enjoy equal employment opportunities.

However, under EU legislation, you as an employer are not obliged to provide special treatment or facilities if the cost of doing so is excessive or disproportionate. If you have to make changes to the workplace or work practices to accommodate a disabled employee, the demands should be ‘reasonable’ and should not impose a ‘disproportionate burden’ on you. In other words, the changes and the costs should be realistic for the business to bear.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011 require employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate the needs of employees and prospective employees with disabilities.

An employee with a disability and their line manager should review such accommodations at regular intervals. Over time, special provisions may no longer be needed or requirements may change due to a progressive condition. An employee should advise their line manager of any changes that are needed.

As an employer, you are not obliged to provide employees with equipment they would normally provide themselves – for example, reading glasses or hearing aids.

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