What are appropriate measures?

Appropriate measures, sometimes called ‘reasonable accommodation’, are practical changes which employers have to make so that people with disabilities can work on an equal basis with others, such as:

  • adapting tools, work stations or equipment
  • providing voice recognition software on computers
  • allowing flexible working times or rest periods
  • providing training
  • providing mentoring and peer support
  • allowing time off to attend medical appointments
  • changing people’s working hours or allowing them to work from home
  • making it possible for the person not to do some tasks, but to do others instead.

Example  A receptionist uses crutches and cannot carry boxes of delivered goods to the store-room.  Another person is assigned to do that part of the job.  Instead, the receptionist works an hour a week for the accounts department.

If your employer refuses to provide an appropriate measure which you need, they may be discriminating against you.

Example A person has arthritis in their hands.  They ask for a lightweight version of a tool that they use every day in their work. The lightweight tool will be easier to hold, less tiring to use and will help them to work faster. The employer refuses, saying that the tool is expensive and unlikely to work well.

“Appropriate” means appropriate for the individual worker.  If your employer refuses to provide an appropriate measure which you need, they may be discriminating against you.

Employers do not have to provide anything that people would usually provide for themselves, for example, crutches or hearing aids.

Employers do not have to hire, promote, retain or provide training for a person who do not have the capacity to do a particular job.  But they cannot decide that the person is not capable without considering if there are appropriate measures which would support the person to do the job.

Employers do not have to provide appropriate measures if that would be a disproportionate burden for them.  However, many appropriate measures cost nothing, for example, flexible work hours.

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