Redundancy and disability discrimination: making reasonable adjustments

Employers considering a business reorganisation should take note of an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision which held that an employer failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments when it did not adjust certain redundancy criteria that placed a disabled employee at a substantial disadvantage. This was despite the fact that the failure would have made no difference to the eventual decision to dismiss the employee.

The case indicates that employers who are scoring disabled employees in a redundancy exercise are more vulnerable to claims (for failure to make reasonable adjustments) than previously thought. When considering whether there is a duty to adjust criteria in the first place, employers cannot simply focus on dismissal as the disadvantage to be overcome. Instead, receipt of a lower score may itself place the employee at a disadvantage, attracting an injury to feelings award.