What Employers Need to Know About Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

"employee credit check, employee background check"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities against job discrimination. Employers, including private companies, state and local governments, labor organizations and labor management committees may not discriminate in recruitment, pay, hiring and firing, promotions, training, leave, benefits, job assignments and all other employment-related activities.

Protection covers all aspects of work, including applying for a job, working conditions and benefits. Employers with 15 or more employees are also required to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship.

What is Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment or the work method to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy the same employment opportunity, including equal benefits and privileges, as employees without disabilities.

Examples include:

  • Posting information about jobs in places that are accessible to everyone, in ways that visually and other impaired individuals may use them
  • Making facilities accessible
  • Job restructuring
  • Part-time or flexible work schedules
  • Acquiring new or modify existing equipment
  • Changing training materials and placement tests
  • Providing readers or interpreters

Does a Small Company Need to Install Elevators?
Not if it creates an undue hardship. Larger companies’ facilities typically accommodate wheelchairs in restrooms, elevators, workspaces and common areas. However, a small company may not be financially able to install an elevator for a worker with a disability. It’s possible to make other arrangements to accommodate the worker, such as creating a workspace on the ground floor and finding new meeting spaces that work for everyone.

Employers may also have to accommodate time for doctors’ appointments, if an employee’s disability is related to an illness that requires medical treatment. Keeping the lines of communication open from the start will go a long way in preventing resentment from other staff, who may view time off as special treatment. Collaborating on how to handle special requests is important for long-term success.

Remember, employers may not ask disability-related questions on job applications or before an offer of employment is made. However, they may evaluate whether an applicant is qualified for the job, including asking about his or her ability to perform specific job functions, asking about non-medical qualifications, and asking applicants to describe or demonstrate how they would perform tasks.

See more answers to your questions about employers and the ADA here:

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