Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

​Minor adjustments for disability not possible

Conciliations: Disability discrimination in employment

Published: 20 September 2017

A healthcare provider initially refused a position to a woman because she required minor adjustments to accommodate her disability.

A woman applied for a part-time position with a healthcare provider. She had a disability which meant she needed minor adjustments, including an ergonomic chair with adjustable head and armrests, and a break of 5-10 minutes after an hour of sitting. 

When informed of these requirements by the human resources department, the position convenor determined that the woman was unable to meet the physical demands of the position, and in fact it might aggravate her condition. She was told that her application was unsuccessful. 

After she lodged a complaint of disability discrimination with the Board, the situation was reviewed. The healthcare provider then determined that the adjustments could have been provided to support the woman in performing the essential requirements of the position.

The healthcare provider and the convenor apologised to the woman for the distress that she experienced. She was offered a similar job in another division, which she accepted.
The employer provided coaching, education and support to the convenor to improve her understanding of the resources that were available to deal with such situations, and ensure that applications for reasonable adjustments would be assessed appropriately in future. 

The employer also looked at the recruitment team’s processes. To address any potential disconnect between human resources and the individual convenors, they recommended that there should be one staff member who was the point of contact for applicants throughout the recruitment procedure. 

What are my work rights?

Your employer must provide any special facilities or services you need to continue to do your job, as long as this won't cause them unjustifiable hardship. If there are non-essential parts of your job that you can't do, your employer must make arrangements to cover these in some other way.

​​More information on Disability discrimination​

​Back to​ September 2017 - Equal Time Newsletter​​​​​

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