Reasonable Adjustments Or Suitable Alternatives?

27 May 2010

PC Jelic’s original role on the Community Service Desk had evolved to include more face-to-face contact with the public and due to his disability (Chronic Anxiety Disorder), PC Jelic struggled to fulfill this role. PC Jelic was medically retired by the Chief Constable on these grounds, with no investigation into any alternatives.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that swapping disabled employee PC Jelic’s role with another (non-disabled) employee was a reasonable adjustment that should have been made (under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). Several alternatives would have been possible, including swapping the role with PC Franklin’s (subject to his opinion) ­ the non-facing role PC Jelic first had. PC Franklin had no restrictions on his capability to perform a public facing role.

In normal circumstances, the Tribunal accepts the medical retirement and consequent reemployment of an employee in a new role as reasonable adjustment. However, in the case of PC Jelic, the Tribunal ruled that the medical retirement was decided before adequate investigation into alternatives was made and indeed the alternative of swapping PC Jelic’s role with PC Franklin’s was ruled the more reasonable adjustment.