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Providing for impairment in the office: What you need to know

Posted by on May 22, 2016

What counts as an impairment in the work environment? It’s a location of employment law that all employers large and small truly have to know, but can be really challenging to comprehend

There are numerous typical illnesses that unbeknownst to many small companies until it’s far too late could well count as an impairment in the workplace. If you have any doubt as to what makes up disability, we suggest you check out on.


How is impairment defined?

Under UK law, someone is defined as handicapped if they have:

A physical or mental disability that has a significant and long-term negative result on [their] ability to do normal everyday activities,so dont takes disability depression.

Now, for lots of little employers, this explanation has to do with as near to a foreign language as you can get.

To equate; it suggests is that if your employee has a mental or physical health issue which makes it challenging to do part or all of their task, they might be classed as having an impairment in the eyes of the law.


It’s not quite that simple.

A current case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) highlights why the definition of an impairment is a real grey location. In the case of Banaszczyk v Booker Ltd the EAT ruled that raising heavy loads of 25kg made up a daily activity. Something that many may normally disagree with.

imagesMr. Banaszczyk was employed to raise and move goods in a storage facility. He asserted disability discrimination after his employer dismissed him for inability as he had a long term back condition that limited his capability to perform this work.

It ended up that the tribunal concurred with him. Why? The judge discussed that lifting heavy loads is a regular day-to-day activity for many employees throughout the UK.

This is clearly not normal for every worker in the UK. And what is not clear is how frequently somebody would need to carry out an activity for it to become typical.

Defining disability is a minefield. And if you’re not cautious you could really easily fall nasty of employment law. We suggest that if you’re ever uncertain about whether a worker s issue might be thought about an impairment then seek help from a certified HR or employment law expert.


Exactly what if I’m uncertain if someone s disabled?


When a staff member s performance drops, and a health or medical concern is pointed out by the worker, this would typically be the time you consider if someone might be considered as handicapped in the eyes of work law. And you must tread carefully.

It’s best to have a conference with the staff member to talk about the performance issue, and see if they have a mental or physical issue which they think is influencing their work.

Mindful. Don t jump to conclusions, and make certain to fully investigate the worker s reasons before acting.

Starbucks did just that recently, and found themselves in hot water. Ms. Kumulchew, a manager in Starbucks, was responsible for taking the temperatures of refrigerators and water and tape-recording the outcomes. Starbucks accused Ms. Kumulchew of falsifying records, lowered her tasks and informed her to retrain.

She declared disability discrimination as she suffers with dyslexia and maintained that she had actually previously told Starbucks about it.

It might not amaze you that at the work tribunal Starbucks were discovered to have actually been wrong in their handling of this, and they were also found to have victimized their staff member. Cue a lot of unfavorable press protection for Starbucks.

This is a fairly cut and dried example, which is uncommon. If one of your employees ever discusses a health issue that could be an impairment you have to look to make exactly what are called reasonable changes.


What is an affordable adjustment?


There are lots of manner in which you can make a sensible modification for a worker, depending upon the type or seriousness of their disability.

This might include:

Making access to your structure much easier for someone who has trouble strolling e.g. a ramp for wheelchair users.

Changing the equipment, they use e.g. supplying a unique keyboard for someone with arthritis.

Offering flexible hours to those that are stressed or burn out easily due to a physical or mental disability.

Letting the staff member work from home e.g. if they deal with anxiety or find it hard getting to the office because of their disability.

Visually revealing a staff member, the best ways to carry out a job, as in Ms. Kumulchew’s example. People with Dyslexia have difficulties with words and numbers and find it easier to be demonstrated how to do tasks aesthetically.

These are just some examples of affordable changes. In essence, they are changes that your company can manage to make to make sure the employee is able to do their task efficiently, without causing damage or disturbance to your company. And what s thought about reasonable can alter based on the size of your business.

As a little company you might utilize someone who needs an assistant through a buddy system. For smaller sized companies, this may be excessive of a strain on a little number of workers. If you are a big company, and have a large number of personnel you would be expected to do much more to accommodate and conquer such an issue.

If you can’t make modifications, then be sure to have evidence for why it would not be reasonable for you making them. Logging this can save you a big headache in the future, must you be accused of discrimination.

Impairment is certainly a very challenging area for employers, and specifically small employers who simply put on t have the time to research the specifics of employment law while aiming to grow a business.

If you tread thoroughly and are sure to gather proof that you’ve acted fairly and look for aid if you re uncertain then you’ll be going in the right direction.

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