A reasonable accommodation is any change to hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, or the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations are considered “reasonable” if they do not create an undue hardship or a direct threat.
In other words, reasonable accommodations can be thought of as “productivity enhancers” that allow workers with disabilities to contribute their all and employers to benefit from a broader talent pool that includes workers with different abilities. Reasonable accommodations are made to maximize the productivity of workers with disabilities, many of them can benefit all employees. For example, everyone can benefit from facility enhancements such as ramps, accessible restrooms, and ergonomic workstations. Contrary to popular belief, most reasonable accommodations involve little or no cost.
Reasonable accommodations can take many different forms. For example, an employer may provide the employee with a flexible schedule, frequent breaks, or a place to sit when standing isn't necessary. Other common accommodations include:
- Providing important feedback in writing rather than verbally or providing materials in a Braille,
- Providing special parking space near the employee entrance,
- Allowing an employee’s service animal into the workspace,
- Installing a ramp or modifying a workstations to accommodate wheelchair users,
- Purchasing special software that magnifies the computer screen making it easier for people with low vision to perform their job duties, and
- Providing sign language interpreters or closed captioning at meetings and events.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.