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  • FIRST POST
    • Lurkerderp
    • By Lurkerderp 23rd Nov 17, 1:49 AM
    • 58Posts
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    Lurkerderp
    Reasonable Adjustments
    • #1
    • 23rd Nov 17, 1:49 AM
    Reasonable Adjustments 23rd Nov 17 at 1:49 AM
    Does anybody have any advice on what an employer's obligations are with regards to reasonable adjustments in the workplace?

    I was recently successful in applying for a job in a call centre. I have certain health issues which I mentioned briefly at interview and then gave full details of on the health questionnaire I received after being offered the job.

    I advised the company that I need a couple of adjustments - namely a raised desk (I'm 6'5") and a larger than standard computer monitor, something which has never been an issue in the past with other employer's.

    The company then got back to me and advised that they were unable to accommodate me and have withdrawn their job offer.

    I didn't think that what I was asking for was particularly unreasonable - is the company within the law to do this?

    Thanks in advance.
    Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

    Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
Page 3
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 25th Nov 17, 8:53 AM
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    sangie595
    I am going to point this out once more. This debate has descended into the ridiculous. A rickety desk with three legs, propped up on a pile of books... that is a health and safety risk. A desk which the OP had never seen, never mind sat at once, is categorically not a health and safety risk. And you clearly don't understand the relevant legislation or you wouldn't be asking about OH, when it is actually a DSE; nor that there is nothing that says an employer must make the adjustment in either case.

    There is a difference between what they must do ( that would be nothing), and what they would be sensible to do (do a risk assessment). There is nothing unsafe about a desk. Suitable or appropriate is a different assessment, and one which, to be fair, the OP couldn't possibly have known since they hadn't used the desk!
    • w06
    • By w06 25th Nov 17, 9:16 AM
    • 384 Posts
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    w06
    Quite, and acceding to the OP's demands without an assessment may well have created just the issues now being raised as h&s risks of not doing so, because a desk needs a suitable chair too ... most of which are adjustable which may have been all that was needed- especially as Marfan's is usually associated with disproportionately long limbs not trunk. But without even giving it a try how can anyone know?

    ps agree very few 16inch monitors around in our run on a shoe string offices, even the 19 inch ones are relegated to secondary screens. But without trying you can't say it's too small for the information you needed to see for that role
    • fuzzything
    • By fuzzything 25th Nov 17, 3:21 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    fuzzything
    The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations are

    1. Not optional
    2. Are part of Health and Safety
    3. Are covered by Occupational Health
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 25th Nov 17, 3:52 PM
    • 4,188 Posts
    • 6,900 Thanks
    sangie595
    The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations are

    1. Not optional
    2. Are part of Health and Safety
    3. Are covered by Occupational Health
    Originally posted by fuzzything
    Can you please stop changing your argument? It was a dangerous, unseen and never used desk that was dangerous a minute ago! And there is still no evidence that the employer would not have done a DSE, or that the screen was "dangerous". The OP didn't ask for a DSE. They demanded a 19 inch screen because they wanted one. Need is assessed - not demanded. And nothing is covered by "occupational health" - it isn't a statutory requirement and half the world doesn't have OH!

    The company has certainly acted unwisely, but there is currently no evidence that they have acted unlawfully. They may have breached the Equality Act, but that is by no means certain here. They have not broken any health and safety laws! Until the OP comes back and tells us that they sat at the desk, looked at the screen, discussed it with their manager and asked for a DSE which was then refused, the company won't have broken any health and safety regulations.
    • fuzzything
    • By fuzzything 25th Nov 17, 4:08 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    fuzzything
    DSE relates to the seating arrangement as well as the display itself.

    The employer must provide a seating arrangement that does not endanger the employees health, including:

    discomfort
    back pain
    and upper limb disorders

    due to the user having to adopt awkward postures.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 25th Nov 17, 8:33 PM
    • 4,188 Posts
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    sangie595
    DSE relates to the seating arrangement as well as the display itself.

    The employer must provide a seating arrangement that does not endanger the employees health, including:

    discomfort
    back pain
    and upper limb disorders

    due to the user having to adopt awkward postures.
    Originally posted by fuzzything
    Which bit of this very simple English don't you understand? The OP didn't actually ever sit at the desk in front of the screen. So there is no evidence that there would be any discomfort, back pain, upper limb disorders, or anything else. The OP cannot claim that any of these things would have happened, because they didn't actually TRY the working environment. They simply provided the employer with a list of demands based on their wishes. That is not how the legislation works.
    • fuzzything
    • By fuzzything 25th Nov 17, 9:01 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    fuzzything
    The regulations do not require an employee to use, or try out unsafe equipment before demanding the employer makes it safe.

    The employer must ensure the equipment is safe to use.

    A DSE Assessment would be a sensible way to determine this.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 25th Nov 17, 9:39 PM
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    sangie595
    It's like talking to a wall. The desk is not unsafe. The screen is not unsafe. You are using the wrong legislation. IF there is any relevant legislation, it is the Equality Act. And now I give up - if the OP ever comes back they can follow your advice if they want. It's wrong, but what the hell. Why should that bother you?
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 26th Nov 17, 1:19 AM
    • 4,891 Posts
    • 9,868 Thanks
    marliepanda
    The regulations do not require an employee to use, or try out unsafe equipment before demanding the employer makes it safe.

    The employer must ensure the equipment is safe to use.

    A DSE Assessment would be a sensible way to determine this.
    Originally posted by fuzzything
    Itís a desk. A desk. And the man is tall. Thatís it. A tall man at a Desk. How on earth is that unsafe?!
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 26th Nov 17, 2:15 AM
    • 2,106 Posts
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    For all the OP knew, everyone else was constantly complaining that the desks were too high. It could have been perfect for them.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 26th Nov 17, 10:23 AM
    • 1,418 Posts
    • 2,775 Thanks
    Cheeky_Monkey
    Can you please stop changing your argument? It was a dangerous, unseen and never used desk that was dangerous a minute ago! And there is still no evidence that the employer would not have done a DSE, or that the screen was "dangerous". The OP didn't ask for a DSE. They demanded a 19 inch screen because they wanted one. Need is assessed - not demanded. And nothing is covered by "occupational health" - it isn't a statutory requirement and half the world doesn't have OH!

    The company has certainly acted unwisely, but there is currently no evidence that they have acted unlawfully. They may have breached the Equality Act, but that is by no means certain here. They have not broken any health and safety laws! Until the OP comes back and tells us that they sat at the desk, looked at the screen, discussed it with their manager and asked for a DSE which was then refused, the company won't have broken any health and safety regulations.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    And yet, in post #23, you said that you suspected that if the OP did bring a claim, they would win!
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 26th Nov 17, 1:15 PM
    • 4,188 Posts
    • 6,900 Thanks
    sangie595
    And yet, in post #23, you said that you suspected that if the OP did bring a claim, they would win!
    Originally posted by Cheeky_Monkey
    And, under the Equality Act, I still believe so. But I'm not the one arguing the Health and Safety Acts or that the desk they have never seen is unsafe! If they brought a claim under the Equality Act the employer, based on the OPs information, would have no defence because they didn't do what they should have done when someone claims a disability - whether or not they are disabled.
    • dori2o
    • By dori2o 26th Nov 17, 11:36 PM
    • 7,364 Posts
    • 12,276 Thanks
    dori2o
    There is also an assumption that the OP 'demanded' these things.

    We dont actually know what the context was, but as the OP has stated they worked within the call centre environment for many years it's acceptable to assume that in previous roles they have had these very same adjustments made.

    I think its likely that the employer asked whether and adjustments may be needed due to disabity and having had these adjustments in the past the OP simply put these down.

    This is not a demand. This is not someone saying I must have x, y, z. It's merely someone answering a question based on personal experience.

    IMO the proper way for the employer to act would not be to withdraw the offer but to work with the employee to see what is needed by way of DSE/OH assessment.

    By not doing the employer has potentially left themselves open to a potential discrimination claim which could very well be sucessful, and cost the employer far more than the cost of desk risers (blocks put under the legs/feet of the desk to raise it up) and a 19/21" monitor.


    As for the comments that a desk and screen cannot be dangerous, that is true, but the comments is unhelpful and very ambiguous.

    Whilst the items themselves may not pose a danger (assuming they are of suitable quality and not damaged) sitting at a desk which is unsuitable is a danger to health.

    Given we've heard that the OPs condition may mean he has longer than average limbs, a raised desk may well be a standard requirement.

    It could well be that in order to sit in the correct ergonomic position, with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at approx 90 degrees, knees and hips at the same level or knees slightly lower.

    Keep your back supported and upright, hips right back into the chair, shoulders relaxed, elbows at between 90 and 110 degrees, screen at eye level, focussing on the most used area of the screen.

    If the OPs issue is due to long legs then he may have to have their chair raised to the top of the riser in oder for them to sit properly. Sitting with legs outstreched is not good for the back or for circulation when sat down all day.

    This in turn may mean that the OPs legs are hitting the underside of the desk, or because theyre sat so high they have to hunch over in order to use the keyboard, meaning the desk would need to be raised, and they may even need risers or other equipment to make sure the screen is still in a suitable position.

    If they have eyesight problems they may need a larger screen.

    Yes they can zoom in, but with smaller screens it may cause issues with pixelation, bright colours, or may not allow the user to view a sufficient area of the screen meaning they have to continually scroll side to side or up/down.

    Just by wearing glasses their issues may not be resolved. Glasses are not the answer to everything eyesight related.

    We have a few staff who wear glasses but who also need larger than normal screens, and in some instances they have to use assistive software or other assistive technology.

    Until you have to live with issues like this which in many cases can be disabilities, you dont know how it affects people.

    I never understood myself what people dealt with until I became disabled myself.

    It might only be a desk and a chair or a screen, but incorrect working environments and posture can and do cause severe health problems.
    To equate judgement and wisdom with occupation is at best . . . insulting.
    • TRICKY89
    • By TRICKY89 30th Nov 17, 2:09 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    TRICKY89
    Hi,
    I'm involved with a discrimination claim under the Equality Act so have done some research and had advice from a solicitor. First off, I'd advise you to book a short session with an employment solicitor. I did that and it only cost £50 quid for 1/2 hour and their advice to me was worth way more than that. That's in London too. May be cheaper elsewhere.
    This is just my opinion so please take it as such, I'm not legally trained.
    I've looked up Marfan Syndrome and I think it would be considered to have ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. I expect that on top of the illness you are suffering side effects from the medication you are required to take. Marfan Syndrome is also a progressive illness and this can also define it as a disability under the Equality Act. I think an Employment Tribunal would accept a claim that you had a disability under the act.
    As such an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments so that you may carry out your duties as an able bodied person would.
    You have made your potential employer aware of your condition prior to and after the offer of a role. Unless you ticked a box on an application form stating that you didn't claim you were disabled (which,incidentally, should no longer be on most application forms) they cannot say they were unaware of the fact.
    Employers, by law, have to make reasonable adjustments. They can only refuse to do so in extreme cases; for instance a small business may claim that installing a disabled lift would bankrupt them.
    I don't know the size of the organisation in question but it would seem to me that the adjustments you have asked for are not expensive. If they are questioning whether they are necessary they could have asked for a medical report from your doctor to explain your needs.
    The key element is that they offered you the role and then reversed the decision based on your disability requirements. If they stated it was reversed because they would not be able to accommodate your health requirements, I would suggest that you have a very clear claim for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
    As,I say,I'd advise you to book a quick session with an employment lawyer. Take all your letters with you and go from there.
    Best wishes
    Last edited by TRICKY89; 30-11-2017 at 2:11 AM.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 30th Nov 17, 5:02 PM
    • 10,052 Posts
    • 8,121 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    Interestingly the OP has not updated on what he intends doing
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