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.