Some people with disabilities can face barriers at work because of how their work situation is organised. In many cases, these barriers can be removed by changing some feature of the workplace environment.

Making these changes is commonly referred to as ‘reasonable adjustment’.

Employers have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace so that an employee with a disability can do their job effectively. Failure to do so may amount to discrimination.

Adjustments should respond to the particular needs or concerns of the worker. Examples of adjustments include making changes to work premises, making adjustments to work schedules, modifying equipment or providing training.

Example: An employer made the reasonable adjustment of obtaining a larger computer screen and zooming software to allow a clerical worker with vision impairment to perform word processing tasks.

Employers are not required to make adjustments to their workplace if they can prove that an adjustment would be too expensive, difficult or time consuming or cause some other hardship to the organisation. This is called ‘unjustifiable hardship’.

The Federal Government can provide financial assistance for workplace modifications for employees with disabilities. See http://jobaccess.gov.au/content/employment-assistance-fund