This article is about Reasonable Adjustments.
It is also about not hanging around before getting advice – which can make a claim impossible.
A recent case has helped clarify when the time limit clock starts to run in a reasonable adjustments case.
If someone has a disability – which is widely defined in law – the Employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments if the way in which the Employer wants the job done means the disabled employee is at a disadvantage and either cannot do the job, or only with difficulty. This is cutting out some jargon to explain the point.
If an Employer fails to make a reasonable adjustment a claim can arise – for disability discrimination. That can be worth a lot of money, often well into five figures.
Recognising these points so far can be difficult. However, the next part is often very difficult.
This is because there is a time limit in which start the claims process. The time limit for disability discrimination – like many other Employment claims – is only 3 months.
The tricky bit is knowing when the time limit actually starts because, in many cases, it is far from obvious. Your Employer is not going to tell you – your time limit starts today!
In fact, your Employer – often HR – will be quite happy to sit on it and let the time limit run out on you because you cannot then make a claim, or only if there are circumstances to extend time and you have not hung around.
The 3 month time limit starts when the Employer has not made a reasonable adjustment and the Employee considers the adjustment will never be made.
Of course, by the time the Employee realises this and perhaps complained about it, the 3 months’ time limit may be well on the way to running out, or have actually run out.
So, what is the best thing to do? The easiest way to protect yourself from missing an important time limit is to get advice as soon as the ‘adjustment problem’ arises and not to wait for weeks and months when it may be being ‘looked at’.
While you are waiting, the clock keep ticking and it can be extremely difficult to make a claim if 3 months has already expired.
So, whether it is an employer, HR, a union, or anyone else who seems to be ‘sitting on’ the matter, if this applies to you or anyone you know, the watchword is always: get advice as to where you stand – before it is too late.