Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodating disability and religious beliefs

Can I ask an employer to make some changes to allow me to do my job if I have a disability or because of my religious belief?

Everybody has the right to participate equally in employment and in society. To do so, some people may need modifications or adjustments to certain situations or arrangements; they may need to be treated differently. This is known as reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodation can involve physical adjustments (e.g. by providing access to buildings or disability toilets), modifying the way a job is done (e.g. by allocating aspects of the job to another person), or relaxing certain policies (e.g. by allowing guide dogs into restaurants).

Although reasonable accommodation is most frequently applied in situations involving people with disabilities, it is also relevant to people of different religious beliefs or people who are caring for family members.

While some people require different treatment in order to have the same opportunities as others, their rights have to be balanced against the rights of employers or providers of goods and services. This means the person needing accommodation has to be able to show that what they need is reasonable.

If the employer or the provider of the goods and services person can show that the different treatment would unreasonably disrupt their activities it does not have to be provided.

If you feel that you need some accommodation in an employment situation, or so as to be able to attend, say, a public event, but are not sure what to do about it, contact the Commission for help on 0800 496877.

Organisations that may be able to help or to provide further information: