Beware the nice!

Beware of people being nice…

This is a common issue in situations where a disabled person is asking for reasonable adjustments and the organisation is being very nice, but taking their time to respond with a decision about whether they will make the requested adjustments (or offer any suitable alternatives).

Delays + niceness are danger signs. Signs that the organisation is stalling and relying on the disabled person feeling compelled by politeness to wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

The niceness is often just another stalling tactic.

The niceness is often covert, and possibly even not intended by the individuals involved to be malicious, but still has the same effect, of denying and delaying access to adjustments and access to disabled people.

Nice people are very hard to challenge, because challenging is “not nice”.

Challenging is “not polite”.

My advice for dealing with niceness is to reply and keep your tone “super-nice” while setting explicit targets for response times. Doing this may help junior staff in the organisation escalate things to someone with authority to get things sorted out.

Some example wording might be:


I made my request for X reasonable adjustment over X weeks ago and still do not have an agreement from ORGANISATION that X or another suitable adjustment will be made for me.

I really do need X to be provided. Part of the Equality Act reasonable adjustments duty is that an adjustment is provided within a reasonable timeframe. Delays to provision of an adjustment can be deemed ‘unreasonable’.

Therefore I need ORGANISATION to respond to me by DATE [I suggest allowing no more than 2 weeks] with a decision about X. If X is refused, I need ORGANISATION to tell me why X is not reasonable and suggest suitable alternative adjustments that would still meet my needs.

If I do not receive a satisfactory response from ORGANISATION by DATE, I will have no choice but to make a formal complaint to ORGANISATION.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,


You may also find the information on our Complaints Page is also helpful in dealing with stalling niceness.