Disability Discrimination: Making Reasonable Adjustments for Employees

27th March 2024


by Natasha Gilding, Paralegal

A recent case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), Miller v Rentokil, has provided some clear lessons to Employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities.  The EAT considered whether or not the Company should have made reasonable adjustments when it dismissed a disabled employee instead of trialling him in an alternative role.

The former employee worked as a field-based pest controller. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis he could no longer work in this role, he couldn’t work at heights (which made up around 40% of his role) and he could only work slowly.  The Company looked at other jobs in the business and the former employee applied for an administrator role.  He was unsuccessful following an interview process and was dismissed.  The former employee then successfully brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal that the Company had failed to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 for failing to place him in that role on a trial basis.

The Company appealed this decision and, on appeal, the EAT agreed with the Tribunal.  The EAT determined that the former employee was placed at a substantial disadvantage because of his disability.  This disadvantage was that he could no longer carry out his duties in his field-based role.  The EAT stated that moving the former member of staff to an alternative role was a potentially reasonable adjustment.  The Claimant had shown that the alternative role was potentially appropriate and suitable.  The burden then passed to the Company to show that it was not reasonable to have put the employee into that role, or to have done so at least on a trial basis.


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Employers who have a disabled employee who can no longer do their existing role must consider them for an alternative role if one is available.  If an employer has doubts about the suitability of the employee to do the role, then you may dismiss at your peril.  Employers should show they are not suitable by trialling the employee in the new role.

The Employment Law team at Fraser Dawbarns LLP has experience in handling sensitive discrimination claims and can help both employees and employers with cases. Contact our team on ELS@fraserdawbarns.com or call our Ely office on 01353 383483 if you would like advice or guidance on discrimination claims.


This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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