Forum

Reasonable adjustments

I work as a IT manager in a gp surgery. I’ve got MS, which was diagnosed a year ago. Last week, I asked my manager if some of the more minor duties of my job could be allocated to someone else. This was refused out right. I feel that my energies would be better concentrated on the major parts of my job rather than running up and down stairs to deal with someone’s jammed printer. I didn’t mention ‘reasonable adjustments’ at the time. Would this be classed as a reasonable adjustment?

In the past year I’ve asked for somewhere quieter to work, refused, somewhere quiet to have a break, nothing done. But, we’re just undergoing a partnership change with new managers etc. and I’m not sure if this is the time to rock the boat or just wait for a bit to see how things work out over the next few months. One of the new managers is a HR expert so maybe I would be better off waiting a bit? My practice manager is the sort of person who said ‘that will be difficult’ when I needed time off last year with a relapse so you can see the sort of person I’m dealing with!
Thanks for any advice

Hi Lindylou,

Not all adjustments are automatically “reasonable”. It depends to some extent on the resources of the employing organisation to fulfil them. For example, would they realistically have anyone else who could fix the paper jams without their existing duties being compromised, or is it likely they would have to hire somebody, just for that? It would be disproportionately expensive to do this, and besides it would be a difficult one to advertise, because you couldn’t really make a proper, worthwhile job, out of just the bits you’d rather not do. Would they pay someone just to sit around and file their nails until the printer jams?

If you happened to be local to me (Bristol area!) I’d probably agree to do it, and for minimum wage, or thereabouts, because I don’t want a lot of stress or hassle any more, and fixing the odd paper jam would be just fine (I once spent a whole Summer at a client site, doing little more than that, and reloading a couple of mag tapes - they still had those - and remembering to set the security alarm before leaving).

But anyway, wishful thinking, as I’m sure you won’t be in Bristol. A pity, as you probably won’t get many people saying: “Yeah, I’d fix printer jams for peanuts!”, and it could be the solution to your problem.

But there really is no automatic definition of “reasonableness”. It has to be reasonable for them, as well as you, and if they’re a small organisation, who would probably have to hire someone specially, to achieve what you’re requesting, it won’t necessarily be “reasonable”. The same with the “quiet area”. Have they actually got a quiet area you could use, or would they have to create one specially? Again, if it’s a small office, with not a lot of scope for rearrangement, that might or might not be practical. They can’t really be expected to give you a “quiet area” if there’s nowhere on the premises suited to that.

So the answer, unfortunately is, “it all depends”. If there’s a quiet area nobody is using, it does seem unreasonable you shouldn’t have at least occasional use of it. However, if there’s no such facility, the law does not require them to go to unlimited lengths to create one.

Tina

Hiya

I was a med sec til last year when I retired through ill health.

I had lots of adjustments before I took early retirement at 52.

I was referred to Occ Health as I kept having to be brought home a couple of hours after getting to work due to falls and sight problems as I couldn’t see properly to type important medical documents etc. After a visit to Occ Health they gave me a huge screen, a room on my own as I hated the heat like a lot of us as it makes symptoms worse and they also gave me an air cond machine. They were brill. Have you asked to be referred to Occ Health as they fought my corner for me and helped a lot. They were also the people who advised me to apply for ill health early retirement as there was nothing more that could be done to help in the way of adjustments.

Hope this helps and good luck!!

Shazzie xx