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Reasonable Accommodation

What do you need?

  • Flexible working hours and time off for appointments?
  • Assistance through technology, such as screen readers, adapted keyboards, etc?
  • Physical modifications to your workplace including ramps or accessible toilets?
  • Maybe your do not require any adjustments now but might later need something not listed above?

Employment Equality Acts

The Employment Equality Acts requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for people with a disability to either continue or take up a position and enjoy equal employment opportunities. An employer must take ‘appropriate measures’ to meet the needs of disabled people in the workforce. However, note that an employer might not have to provide these types of appropriate measures if it meant that the employer would suffer a ‘disproportionate burden’.

To establish what a ‘disproportionate burden’ is for the employer; several things are considered.

These include:

  • The financial cost of the measures involved
  • Other costs involved, for example, staff time or impact on productivity
  • The size and financial resources of the employer’s business

Appropriate measures

Appropriate measures mean effective and practical changes that the employer puts in place to enable employees with a disability to carry out their work on an equal footing with others. This means they must make arrangements that will enable a person who has a disability to have equal opportunities when applying for jobs.

For example, accommodations for interviews may include an accessible location for a person with a mobility impairment; a sign language interpreter for a person who is deaf; a reader for a person who is blind; and modified testing for a person with a learning disability.

In addition disabled people must be;

  • Treated the same as co-workers
  • Have equal opportunities for promotion
  • Undertake training
  • Adapting the premises or the equipment, for example, installing wheelchair ramps, providing special computers for the visually impaired, installing loop systems etc.
  • Offering flexible working times
  • Providing training or other supports that might help
  • Adjusting an employee’s attendance hours or allowing them to work from home; or
  • Assigning an employee certain tasks, and substituting others for equivalent duties, in consultation with the employee.

The employer is not obliged to provide anything that the person would normally provide for themselves. For example, an employer would not be expected to provide hearing aids for a person with impaired hearing.

More information on this topic can be found on the Employers for Change Website.

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