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16 September 2016

Protecting disabled person's pay may be reasonable adjustment

It has long been established that the purpose of the disability discrimination provisions is to enable disabled employees to play as full a part as possible in the world of work, but not to treat them as objects of charity. The recent case of G4S Cash Solutions v Powell may cause some concern for employers as, apparently contrary to this principle, it was found that pay protection may be a reasonable adjustment.

The EAT found that where a disabled employee is redeployed as a result of their disability that consideration should be given to protecting their pay as a “reasonable adjustment”. Here, the disabled employee was transferred to a role that would attract a lower salary (by 10%) as it no longer required someone with engineering skills.

Whilst this case does not mean that employers are always required to protect a disabled employee’s level of salary, it should be part of the thought process. For organisations, such as G4S, with large resources, it may well be a ‘reasonable’ adjustment to make.