Reasonable adjustments can include paying for private treatment
Can the duty to make reasonable adjustments extend to paying for an employee to have private psychiatric counselling? Yes, on the facts of the next case.
The Claimant in that case worked for a vets’ practice as reception manager. She suffered from stress and severe depression. She resigned from her employment when her employer did not act on the recommendations made by a clinical psychiatrist to refer the Claimant for private psychiatric services and counselling. The tribunal upheld claims that the employer failed to make reasonable adjustments and that the Claimant was unfairly constructively dismissed.
The employer appealed, arguing that it is outside the scope of reasonable adjustments to require an employer to fund private medical treatment. Dismissing the appeal, the EAT thought that the issue was not the payment for private medical treatment in general, but, rather, payment for a specific form of support which would have enabled the Claimant to return to work and the tribunal correctly found that the employer’s failure to pay for that treatment was a failure to make reasonable adjustments.
Reasonable adjustments are a key part of the Equality Act 2010 and can be vital to enabling a disabled employee to retain their employment. Unfortunately, employers often fail to understand the extent of their duty to make adjustments and can thus fall foul of the law.
On the facts of this case, the tribunal was justified in finding that the employer’s failure to pay for the Claimant to have private psychiatric services and counselling which would have enabled her to return to work was a failure to make a reasonable adjustment.
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