How far does the Employer's obligation to make reasonable adjustments extend?

Thursday 19th June 2014

In Hainsworth v Ministry of Defense an employee brought a claim that her employer had failed to make a reasonable adjustment on the basis that her daughter has Down's Syndrome.

In arguing her case, she referred to the ECJ's decision in Coleman v Attridge Law that Articles 1 and 2 of the Directive require protection against associative discrimination in respect of direct disability discrimination and harassment.

The EAT agreed with the decision of the Tribunal and so she appealed to the Court of Appeal. Adding weight to her argument, the Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened in support of her claim.

Employers will be glad to hear that the Court of Appeal robustly rejected Ms Hainsworth's argument and stated that Article 5 makes it plainly clear that the obligation to make reasonable adjustment only applies to disabled Employees, prospective employees and trainees

Having said that it would still be wise for an employer to do whatever it could or at least consider such a request in these circumstances in order that they do not breach the mutual trust and confidence. 

Author: Administrator

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