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Working from home as a reasonable adjustment

I have an employee who has returned to work after a a few days off due to anxiety. 

Keeps having short spells off due to fatigue/anxiety (has stated spoken to GP but has not been signed off by GP) 

Has asked to work from home 

We currently ask for staff to work on site with one day WFH. the nature of our business means we need to be in the office and interact with our customers and be reactive as issues arise. 

We have a welfare meeting as part of our absence policy and this will come up - what would be the best way to approach this. Am am worried about setting a precedent for others to WFH when we need to be site based.

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  • Firstly reasonable adjustments only legally come into play if they are covered by the Equality Act and it may well be that they aren't here given the stage they have reached.

    Secondly the adjustments have to be reasonable and if you can't accommodate due to the legitimate requirements of your workplace they aren't reasonable.

    Finally they may well make a flexible working request in which case you will need to assess it under the separate criteria under that act.

    But try and reach a compromise if you can

  • In reply to Keith:

    That's great, thank you. I appreciate the response, that's what I had in the back of my head but you do doubt yourself when you have no one to check with.
  • In addition to Keith's answer, reasonable adjustments must, by definition, be reasonable. A business isn't obliged to consent to adjustments that make it impossible to do the job for which the employee is engaged. The object of adjustments is to enable the employee to do the job to an adequate standard as would be expected of an able-bodied employee who didn't need the adjustments.

    Further, a flexible working request is often made as part of a request for reasonable adjustments, but you don't have to consider the FWR on the same grounds as you do the adjustments. A FWR can be refused on any of the seven legal grounds, any of which may apply as much to someone needing accommodations under EA2010 as to someone who doesn't.

    Finally, you don't need to worry about any one FWR setting a precedent for any other. FWR is granted on a first come, first served basis. Each time one agree a FWR, the context changes for every other such request. If you can accommodate one person working remotely, it might be that this literally is all that you can accommodate and everyone else cannot work remotely. Is that unfair? No. The person working remotely asked first.

    Of course, when I said "unfair", I mean it in the technical sense that we use the term in HR. That won't stop other team members thinking that it's unfair in a more colloquial sense. But "other people will have their nose put out by this" is also not a legal reason to refuse flexible working.