Reasonable adjustments and trial periods – Miller v Rentokil

21st March 2024

Did pest control firm, Rentokil Initial UK Ltd, make reasonable adjustments when it dismissed a disabled employee suffering from multiple sclerosis rather than placing the employee, on a trial basis, in an alternative role?

No, held the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Miller v Rentokil.

The facts

Mr Miller was a field-based pest control technician. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and could no longer work in his current role due to working at heights and only being able to work slowly.

Mr Miller looked at other jobs in the business and he applied for an administrator role, however he failed the written tests for this role. He was dismissed.

Mr Miller brought a claim, amongst others, for a failure to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 i.e. failing to place him in the administrator role on a trial basis. The tribunal upheld Mr Miller’s claim. The Employment Tribunal found that offering a trial period would have been considered a reasonable adjustment.

On appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with the tribunal. The Claimant was placed at a substantial disadvantage because of his disability. By moving Mr Miller into an alternative role it was potentially a reasonable adjustment which would remove that disadvantage.

Mr Miller had demonstrated that the alternative role was potentially appropriate and suitable. The burden then shifted to Rentokil Initial UK to show that it was not reasonable to have put the employee into that role, or at the very least to have put him into that role on a trial basis. As a result, the Employment Tribunal had been entitled to conclude that Rentokil Initial UK had not discharged this burden.

This case highlights the importance for employers to consider what reasonable adjustments they can make for their employees. If an employee proposes reasonable adjustments, it’s vital for employers to carefully consider them. It is important for employers to discharge the burden of demonstrating why it may not be reasonable to make a particular reasonable adjustment for a disabled person in order to avoid a successful claim of disability discrimination.

For support and guidance on reasonable adjustments, please get in touch with Rajveer Basra at

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