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reasonable accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

The law also provides that employers provide reasonable accommodations to disabled individuals.  A reasonable accommodation is some change that would allow an applicant or employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

It would be impossible to outline all of the types of reasonable accommodations that an employer may be required to make.  Each circumstance is fact specific.  There may be many reasonable accommodations for your particular job and none for others.  Determining whether or not a reasonable accommodation is possible is something that you must determine with your employer (and your employer is obligated to engage in an interactive process to determine an appropriate accommodation, see below).

Keep in mind that there are limitations on an employees right to such an accommodation.  For example, an employee cannot request and an employer is not required to provide an accommodation that would prove to be an undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense), or where the accommodation would present a direct threat to the employee or coworkers.

Interactive Process

Obviously, it can be difficult to determine whether a reasonable accommodation exists and what that accommodation should look like.  Your employer is obligated to figure that out by discussing it with you (called the “interactive process”).  Basically, you and your employer need to sort it out.  In some situations, it may be a simple as granting a request (e.g., “I need to sit while doing this job”).  Other times, it can be a long process that involves your doctors or other health care providers.

In some instances, an accommodation may not exist.  For example, an employer is not required to create a new job or bump someone out of a job in order to accommodate your disability.

Types of Reasonable Accommodations

  • providing or modifying equipment or devices,
  • job restructuring,
  • part-time or modified work schedules,
  • reassignment to a vacant position,
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies,
  • providing readers and interpreters, and
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
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