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Workplace Adjustments procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 24 May 2023.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) The University values diversity, embraces difference, respect, and welcomes all. The University is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive workplace to enable people with temporary or permanent disability or medical conditions to safely perform in all aspects of employment. Workplace adjustments remove barriers so that skilled individuals with disability or a medical condition can perform the inherent requirements of their position.

(3) This procedure details the process for staff and prospective staff to request and implement workplace adjustments to accommodate a disability or medical condition.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This procedure applies to all staff and prospective University staff.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This procedure is pursuant to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy.

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Section 5 -  Procedure 

Workplace Adjustments

(6) Workplace adjustments are changes to a work environment that allow individuals with disability or a medical condition to work productively and safely. A disability is defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and may be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired.

(7) It is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).  To comply with its obligations to provide reasonable adjustments under law, the University is committed to making workplace adjustments.

(8) Workplace adjustments enable current or prospective staff with disability or a medical condition to:

  1. safely perform the inherent requirements of their job;
  2. have equal opportunity in recruitment processes, promotion, training and development;
  3. experience equitable terms and conditions of employment;
  4. increase productivity;
  5. participate fully in all areas of employment; and
  6. prevent health conditions from deteriorating.

(9) Workplace adjustments may be temporary or permanent. Examples of workplace adjustments include, but are not limited to:

  1. provision of appropriate equipment or assistance to ensure there is no barrier in the recruitment and selection process;
  2. modifications to equipment or the supply of specialised equipment, furniture or work related aids;
  3. alterations to premises or work areas;
  4. flexible working arrangements including changes to start/finish times;
  5. providing essential information in accessible formats;
  6. provision of Auslan interpreters, readers or captioning;
  7. adjustments to work tasks and methods; and
  8. provision of support and training to co-workers/supervisors.

Requesting a workplace adjustment

(10) To request a workplace adjustment, individuals will be required to disclose a disability or medical condition. This will enable the University to determine how to support each individual to safely perform the inherent requirements of their position. Individuals may also be required to provide supporting medical evidence to support a request. Information related to an individual’s disability or medical condition will be treated in accordance with the University’s Privacy policy and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)

(11) Prospective staff and visitors may contact Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to request appropriate adjustments commensurate with the activity they are undertaking at the University.


(12) An individual may disclose whether they have a disability or medical condition when they are applying for a position at the University.

(13) To ensure that all candidates have equal opportunity in the recruitment process, all prospective staff members can request a workplace adjustment to participate in the selection process.

(14) During the online application process, individuals will be advised of the opportunity to discuss any required workplace adjustments with a member of Deakin’s Recruitment Team at the time of receiving an invitation to attend an interview. This may include adjustments required to participate in the interview and selection process.  There is no requirement to share the details of the disability or medical condition.

During employment

(15) An individual may disclose whether they have a disability or medical condition when they receive a contract of employment by the University. This will enable the University to provide effective and early support. A member of the Recruitment Team will contact the individual to discuss whether any support or adjustments are required in the first instance.

(16) Existing staff who acquire a disability or develop a medical condition during the course of their employment are encouraged to speak with their leader about their requirements.  After having an initial discussion with their leader about requesting a workplace adjustment, the staff member’s leader should contact People Solutions (Wellbeing) for further advice and assistance. Alternatively, staff may prefer to seek advice or discuss workplace adjustment with a People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing).

(17) A leader may also request the assistance or advice of a People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) to provide supports and workplace adjustments for any staff members returning to work following a long term or complex illness or injury.

(18) The People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) will work with the staff member and their leader to identify what workplace adjustments can be made and to ensure these adjustments are documented in a Workplace Adjustment Plan. 

(19) At any point in the development of a Workplace Adjustment Plan, the staff member and/or the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) may seek support from other internal or external stakeholders, for example the relevant Senior People and Culture Partner, Coordinator of Disability Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a health provider, or a disability service provider.  Where confidential information is being discussed with internal or external parties, the staff member’s consent will be obtained.

(20) There is no requirement on staff to disclose their disability or medical condition to the University, however, if such information is not disclosed, workplace adjustments may not be able to be accommodated.

Assessing and determining workplace adjustments

(21) When assessing workplace adjustments, the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) and the staff member’s leader will make the adjustments to accommodate a staff member’s disability or medical condition, unless the adjustment would result in unjustifiable hardship.  

(22) To determine whether the adjustment would result in unjustifiable hardship, the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) and the staff member’s leader will consider:

  1. whether the adjustment is reasonable;
  2. whether the inherent requirements of the job cannot be performed, even if the adjustment is made;
  3. the financial impact and estimated amount of expenditure required to be made in making the adjustment;
  4. the effect the adjustment would have on other staff and disruption to the work area (including on efficiency and productivity); and
  5. restrictions to the amendment of a building due to council or other laws.

(23) The People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) and the staff member’s leader will consult with the staff member during the assessment process.  If the request is denied based on unjustifiable hardship, the reasons for this decision will be provided to the staff member in writing.

Implementing workplace adjustments

(24) Once the workplace adjustment has been reviewed and approved by the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) and the staff member’s leader, it is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that the agreed adjustments are implemented within a reasonable period.

(25) The time frame for implementing workplace adjustments will vary depending on individual circumstances and the type of workplace adjustment. The leader will make details of expected timelines available to the staff member requiring adjustment within the following timeframes:

  1. For new employees, before commencement in the new position, provided it is practicable to do so.
  2. For existing employees, no longer than 21 working days, provided it is practicable to do so.

(26) Costs for workplace adjustments are covered by the relevant area in which the staff member is employed.  The Australian Government’s Employee Assistance Fund (EAF) may also provide assistance to help meet the cost of modifications.  The EAF may also assist with a free workplace assessment to help the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) work out what modifications or equipment will best meet the staff member’s needs. (See Australian Government Employment Assistance Fund website) The People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) and the leader can assist the staff member in this process if required.

Monitoring adjustments and ongoing support

(27) The staff member and their leader should agree on review dates for any workplace adjustment to ensure that the adjustment has been appropriate and effective. Adjustments should be reviewed as required to ensure the adjustment continues to be successful in enabling the staff member to work safely and productively.

(28) Where the adjustments involve reduced hours for a temporary period, the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) will work together with the staff member and their leader to ensure that the duties and hours are consistent with capacity for work, and that hours are gradually increased in accordance with supporting medical advice.

(29) Staff members are responsible for keeping their leader and the People Solutions Consultant (Wellbeing) updated with any relevant changes in their disability or medical condition.

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Section 6 -  Definitions 

(30)  For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Disability: as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992:
    1. total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions;
    2. total or partial loss of a part of the body;
    3. the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness;
    4. the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body;
    5. a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction;
    6. a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment, or that results in disturbed behaviour;                   
      and includes disability that:
    7. presently exists
    8. previously existed but no longer exists
    9. may exist in the future; or
    10. is imputed to a person.
  2. Inherent requirements: The inherent requirements of a position will vary depending on what the position is. They may include:
    1. the ability to perform tasks which are essential to perform a position productively and to the required quality or standard;
    2. the ability to work effectively in a team or other organisation; or
    3. the ability to work safely.
  3. Unjustifiable hardship: Section 11 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires that all relevant circumstances are taken into account when assessing the employer’s capacity to provide reasonable adjustment, including:
    1. the nature of the benefit or detriment likely to accrue or be suffered
    2. the effect of the disability
    3. the financial circumstances; and
    4. the estimated amount of expenditure required. 

      Limitations on the obligation to provide reasonable adjustments include:
      1. adjustments which would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer
      2. changing the inherent requirements of the job (or maintaining a job which would otherwise be altered or abolished;
      3. assigning performance of some inherent requirements of the job to another employee;  or
      4. creating a new or different job, or promotion or transfer to a different job.
  4. Workplace Adjustment Plan: Developed in cases where a staff member is returning to work on a gradual basis and identifies tasks that can be completed safely and effectively. The plan is developed in conjunction with the staff member, their leader and in accordance with supporting medical advice.