Equality law recognises disabled workers may need changes made at work and extra support in the workplace. This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies to disabled people who:
What is seen as reasonable will depend on a range of factors and will be different for every organisation. Factors to consider include:
Many reasonable adjustments involve little or no cost. If there are costs involved, funding might be available from Access to Work. You cannot ask an employee to pay for a reasonable adjustment.
If you do not know, and could not reasonably be expected to know, that an employee has epilepsy, the duty to put reasonable adjustments in place does not apply.
Reasonable adjustments must be reasonable for the employer and the employee. Negotiation might be needed to reach an agreement about what is reasonable.
If a reasonable adjustment is declined there must be a clear and justified reason for doing so. Declining to make reasonable adjustments without a justified reason is a form of disability discrimination. An employee could take the matter to an employment tribunal, who would look at the complaint and decide if it involved unlawful discrimination.
Many people with epilepsy will not need any adjustments making.
Examples of things that could be put in place as a reasonable adjustment include:
To find out if there are things that would support them, talk to your employee and complete a risk assessment. If your organisation has access to an occupational health service, you could contact them to ask for advice. For more about risk assessments, see the section about Safety.
If a reasonable adjustment is put in place, it might be for an agreed time period. When deciding what is reasonable, consider if the adjustment will be for a fixed period and when it will be reviewed.
Use the employee’s seizure action plan to make a record of any support that is agreed and put in place. For more, see the Supporting employees section.
Use the reasonable adjustments checklist in a conversation with your employee about what would help them at work.
Access to Work is a government scheme that can provide grants to support disabled people in the workplace. An employee who does not have the help they need at work may be able to get help from Access to Work.
Examples of things that Access to Work could provide financial support for include:
Access to work will not pay for things that would normally be needed to do the job, whether the employee is disabled or not.
The scheme is available across the UK. The arrangements are different in Northern Ireland than in England, Scotland and Wales.
If eligible, employees with epilepsy could apply to the scheme. Employers may have to share the cost with Access to Work if the person has been working at the organisation for more than 6 weeks when they apply for Access to Work. The factsheet below explains more.
If you’d like to print the information on this webpage or see the information with references, download it here.