When a worker becomes a disabled person

If someone who works for you becomes a disabled person, this may mean making changes to the way they do their job.

Read the Core guidance to make sure you know what equality law says you must do as an employer.

In this situation, you must think about whether there are reasonable adjustments you need to make so that, as far as is reasonable, the disabled person has the same access to everything that is involved in doing a job as a non-disabled worker.

You are under a positive and proactive duty to take steps to remove or reduce or prevent the obstacles a disabled worker faces.

Sometimes this will involve making adjustments to the way that you do things or to your premises. It could mean providing the worker with extra or adapted equipment.

You should also review any existing adjustments for a disabled person if the effects of their condition change or if they change jobs.

It will benefit your organisation to keep the worker if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable this to happen. You will be able to keep their knowledge and skills to benefit your organisation. 

In addition, the cost of keeping the worker will often be less than the cost of recruiting and training a new member of staff.

Many factors will be involved in deciding what adjustments to make and they will depend on individual circumstances. Different people will need different changes, even if they appear to have similar impairments.

You only have to make adjustments where you are aware – or should reasonably be aware – that an employee has a disability.

It is advisable for you to discuss the adjustments with the disabled person. Otherwise the changes may not be effective. You may also need to get expert advice. This process is sometimes called an 'Employment Retention Assessment'.

There is a lot more information about making reasonable adjustments to remove barriers for disabled people.

More information

Last Updated: 15 Jul 2010