An employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments is one of the most important parts of the Equality Act. This part of the website gives examples of adjustments for stammering, and also summarises the legal rules.
Examples of adjustments
These are just possible examples of reasonable adjustments in the context of employment. Further suggestions are welcome, firstname.lastname@example.org. What is appropriate and reasonable will depend on the circumstances, and different people who stammer have different needs. It will often be a good idea for the employer and the person who stammers to discuss what is appropriate. The examples are here:
- Examples of adjustments: Recruitment – including promotion;
- Examples of adjustments: In the job – adjustments while employed.
The legal rules on reasonable adjustments in employment
In summary, where any provision, criterion or practice of an employer places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled people, the employer is obliged to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage. ‘Substantial’ means only more than minor or trivial.
There is also an obligation to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to provide an auxiliary aid or service where a disabled person would otherwise be put at a substantial disadvantage. Another duty relates to physical features.
The employer’s obligation to make a reasonable adjustment does not apply if it does not know and could not reasonably be expected to know that the person has a disability and is likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage.
An employer has a practice of holding spoken interviews, lasting a particular time. A person who stammers therefore cannot communicate as much as a non-disabled person at the interview. Possible reasonable adjustments might include a longer interview and paying more attention to written submissions of the job applicant.
The employer requires staff to answer the phone, which an employee who stammers has difficulty with. The employer arranges, for example. that other staff answer the phone and only put through to her calls which are for her.
More on reasonable adjustments for stammering
Other sources on reasonable adjustments for people who stammer:
- BSA information on Reasonable adjustments (stamma.org), Employers & HR professionals (stamma.org) and Recruitment (stamma.org).
- Accommodation and compliance: Stuttering – from ‘JAN’, the Job Accomodation Network, United States. Also video of (American) National Stuttering Association webinar with a representative from JAN – scroll down to Workplace Accommodations for People who Stutter, 19th March, 2019.