Make a Tribunal claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments

Content / trigger warning

How to make a Tribunal claim

You can make a Tribunal claim at no cost to the Employment Tribunal, using the ET1 form. Before you submit your claim, you must contact ACAS, the public body who can help to resolve your claim through Early Conciliation. You can write your particulars of claim using our ET1 Particulars of Claim template.

This guide will walk you through making a failure to make reasonable adjustments claim.

How to complete Section 8.2 of the ET1 form

The ET1 form will ask in section 8.2 for the background and details of your claim. The best way to approach this is to write your Particulars of Claim (called a Paper Apart if you are in Scotland). This is where you lay out what happened, what legal claims you’d like to make and your reasoning. 

This section is the heart of your Tribunal claim and is very important and difficult to change later on, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure it’s clear.

How to create your particulars of claim:

  1. Write your ET1 section 8.2

    You’ll normally do this by creating a separate document called the Particulars of Claim (or Paper Apart in Scotland). This sets out the background and details of your claim. Valla offers step-by-step guidance to help you make sure your claims are clear and laid out in the right way.

  2. Convert the file to Rich Text Format (RTF)

    Convert your file to RTF and attach it to the online ET1 form. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can purchase Valla’s Peace of Mind Check and we will sort this out for you.

  3. Submit your ET1 form

    Wait for the Tribunal to acknowledge your claim. They will also send a copy to the Respondent, who will have 28 days to respond.

Specific things to consider in your failure to make reasonable adjustments claim

Laying out your claim

When you are claiming failure to make reasonable adjustments at Tribunal, you want to clearly argue that your employer has failed to make a reasonable change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability. For example:

  • An employer fails to rearrange the furniture and install a new desk so that an employee who is a wheelchair user is able to effectively negotiate their way around the customer area.
  • An employer has a policy that designated car parking spaces are only offered to senior managers. A worker who is not a manager, but has a mobility impairment and needs to park very close to the office, asks for a designated car parking space, but this is refused.
  • An employer fails to allow a person who has become disabled more time off work than would be allowed to non-disabled workers to enable them to have rehabilitation training.

With failure to make reasonable adjustments, your employer can be liable for the acts of its employees, as well as the employees being personally responsible. 

Proving your claim

You don’t need to attach evidence to a Tribunal ET1 claim, but it’s a good idea to back up your claims by mentioning the evidence you intend to use. For failure to make reasonable adjustments claims, people typically refer to evidence such as policies such as sickness absence policies, doctor’s notes, Occupational Health reports, text messages, emails, letters, meeting notes and witness evidence.

What you can ask for in your failure to make reasonable adjustments claim

If you’re successful in a Tribunal claim, you will be awarded a “remedy”. This mainly includes financial compensation, like loss of earnings. It can also include some non-financial remedies too.

Common remedies people ask for at Tribunal

Some of the key remedies you can ask for at Tribunal are:

  • The money you have lost from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • The money that you expect to lose in the future from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • Wages that you are owed, including holiday pay and notice pay.

Discrimination-specific remedies

As well as the common remedies that you can ask for, discrimination-specific claims also have the option to include an “injury to feelings” remedy. This is compensation which you can be awarded when you have been hurt or distressed because you have been discriminated against.

Injury to feelings is generally awarded within one of three “Vento bands” depending on severity:

  • for less serious cases - £1,200 to £11,700
  • for more serious cases - £11,700 to £35,200
  • for the most serious cases - £35,200 to £58,700

For example, Farzana had light sensitivity which amounted to a disability. The Tribunal found that her employer had failed to adjust the surroundings that she worked in, when it would have been reasonable to do so. This impacted not only on Farzana’s work but also on her personal life as well as her physical and mental wellbeing. She was awarded £10,000, plus interest, for injury to feelings.

Real failure to make reasonable adjustments cases you can learn from

Summary: a car park worker with sciatica and mobility difficulties was asked to take on additional duties that made her job more difficult with her condition. Her employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments so that she could perform her duties.

Total award: £155,289.40

Outcome: the worker was successful in her claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments, as the company had applied a number of practices that had substantially disadvantaged her. She was also successful in a number of other claims, including constructive dismissal and other types of discrimination claims.

Summary: a shop assistant was born with hip defects which caused them significant problems when walking and generally with their mobility. Their employer failed to allocate them a purely sedentary role after they returned to work following a hip replacement. 

Total award: £8,000 plus interest (plus loss of earnings - amount tbc)

Outcome: they were successful in their claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments, as well as claims for discrimination arising from disability due to other issues concerning requiring them to clock in and out for toilet breaks.

Further reading

Related Tribunal claims 

If you’ve faced failure to make reasonable adjustments at work, there are potentially a number of other discrimination claims that could apply to you:

  • Victimisation - where you’ve been treated badly because you made or helped with a discrimination complaint.
  • Harassment - where you’ve been subjected to behaviour that relates to a protected characteristic and is unwanted. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel intimidated, degraded, or offended.
  • Indirect discrimination - where a company policy or practice negatively affects a group of people who fall under the protected characteristic you are claiming. 
  • Sexual harassment - where you have experienced unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or been treated less favourably because you have either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment. 
  • Direct discrimination - where you’ve been treated badly because of a protected characteristic.  
  • Discrimination arising from disability (note that this only applies to disability) - where you’ve been treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself. 

You may also be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or another type of employment law. You can download your free Action Toolkit to find out more.