Workplace Accommodations

Disclosing a disability when in the midst of the job search is a complex decision. While some disabilities are clearly visible, others are not. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against prospective job applicants with a disability – barring that the applicant meets the employer’s requirements for the job including education, training, experience, skill or any necessary licenses. The ADA covers all areas of employment including access to "reasonable accommodation" for employees that do not incur a large expense for the employer.

If you are a disabled American, you can request - and your employer must provide - reasonable accommodation so that you can perform your job. And the employer is required by law to provide employees with known disabilities access to these accommodations.

Most employers understand that they need to accommodate individuals with disabilities by law, but they may not know exactly what accommodations you require. As a disabled American, you have the right to request an accommodation at any time – before you are hired and during your employment.

It is your responsibility to request a specific workplace accommodation. Depending on where you work, this request is usually made in writing to a supervisor or human resources manager, providing a brief explanation of how the requested accommodation will enable you to perform the essential functions your job.

It is then the responsibility of your supervisor or human resources manager to meet with you acknowledging and evaluate your request, and if necessary, discuss other alternatives.

A reasonable accommodation can take many forms from access to specific technologies or equipment to scheduling considerations. Some of examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • You may require coming into work late one day per week due to a doctor’s visit or require a flexible work schedule.
  • You may need to work in a quiet environment.
  • You may require the use of special equipment, such as a large computer monitor or chair or other workplace adaptive technology or equipment.
  • You may need to be provided with an interpreter or other form of personal assistance.
  • Your job duties may need to be modified.
  • Your employer’s existing facilities may need to be made more accessible or involve acquiring or modifying equipment.
  • There may be instances where changes need to be made to tests, training materials, or policies.

For more information on reasonable accommodations for the disabled, as outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, visit here.