The EAT has upheld a tribunal's decision that the Foreign Commonwealth Office's refusal to provide a team of lip speakers to enable a deaf employee to carry out a role in Kazakhstan was not unreasonable, and that the FCO was not guilty of direct disability discrimination or a failure to make reasonable adjustments.  The EAT emphasised that although cost is not decisive in determining whether an adjustment is reasonable or not, it is still a relevant consideration. 

The amount of £249,500 (which was five times the claimant's salary), was held to be prohibitively expensive as it was nearly equal to the cost of running the entire agency. 

The claimant was not prevented from applying for other roles and progressing her career.

Key point: Employers should be mindful that cost is a factor in deciding whether an adjustment is a reasonable adjustment, however it is not decisive. 

Cordell v Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2011