What Is a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace under the ADA?


The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. In the context of employment, it requires all employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for qualified employees , the goal of which is to assist the employees in the performance of their duties. . It can be tricky to understand what is and is not considered a reasonable workplace accommodation.

In general, an employer should make any reasonable accommodation which is necessary to allow the employee to carry out essential job functions, unless the accommodation would in some way endanger the disabled employee and/or their colleagues or if the accommodation causes the company undue hardship. Undue hardship may include those that are too expensive, difficult to put in place, disruptive to the work environment, or would fundamentally alter the nature of the position. Oftentimes, employers attempt to avoid providing reasonable accommodations by wrongfully claiming a particular accommodation to be an undue hardship.

Can I Get a Workplace Accommodation under the ADA?

Exactly what accommodations you are entitled will depend on your disability and the nature of your job. In general, most requests for standard accommodations should be accommodated or the employer may be in violation of the ADA. Some common examples of reasonable accommodations under the ADA include:

  • Assistive technologies to provide equal access and may be accomplished through things such as wheelchair ramps, handicap-accessible desks and bathrooms, phones for the hearing impaired, screen magnifiers, etc.
  • Altered schedules or telecommuting to permit employees requiring regular medical care to perform work on an altered schedule or to telecommute
  • Job restructuring to remove non-essential job tasks that the disabled employee is unable to perform.
  • Modified training material and additional time to complete training or exams as warranted. Reasonable leave: Disabled employees cannot be penalized for missing work due to medical emergencies and are entitled to reasonable) leave to receive necessary care.
  • Interpretive services: A reader or interpreter (or similar software) may be provided.
  • Preferential reassignment to a vacant position: If a position is no longer appropriate due to a disability, employees can be given preference for a vacant position (assuming they have appropriate qualifications).

Any of these accommodations may be required under the ADA. It really will depend on the position, the company, and the disability. You simply need to formally request an accommodation, and employers must do what they can to provide for that need.

Employers cannot turn down reasonable accommodation requests, so if you have been denied unfairly, you have options. Talk to a lawyer at Wakeford Law to learn more about what you can do. We have years of experience successfully fighting for fair disability accommodation, and we’d be happy to help you too.

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