In the case of O'Hanlon v Commissioners of HMRC the EAT held that the purpose of the disability discrimination legislation was to enable disabled persons to play a full part in the world of work, not to "treat them as objects of charity" and as such it would be rare for employers to have to pay disabled employees more sick pay than non disabled employees on sick leave. In the case of G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell the EAT has now considered whether an employer needs to maintain a higher rate of pay for an employee moved to a lesser role as a reasonable adjustment.
One immediate differentiation between O'Hanlon and Powell is that the former related to payment of sick pay whilst an employee was on sick leave, whereas the latter related to an employee who was able to work, but only by doing a lesser role. From an employer's perspective the purpose of making reasonable adjustments is to enable an employee to remain part of the workforce and contributing to the business. In Powell, the employee was contributing and the question was therefore whether it was reasonable to expect the employer to maintain his previous pay rate.