XII. Reasonable Accommodations
A. Reasonable Accommodation Obligation
ADA requires reasonable accommodation in at least three aspects of employment (Note that the following is a partial list of examples and is not intended to be considered complete):
1. To ensure equal opportunity in the application process.
- Providing applications in large print, computer disk or other alternative formats.
- Relocate any tests to an accessible area if needed.
- Allow someone to assist the applicant to complete the necessary forms.
- Allow the application to be taken home.
2. To enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job.
- Change work hours or schedules: i.e. allowing a diabetic employee to take regular meal breaks during a shift.
- Modifications of job tasks: i.e. allowing a blind office worker to substitute transcription and duplicating duties for proofreading and filing.
- Division of tasks among employees: i.e. allowing a bookkeeper who is deaf to trade phone duties with another employee in exchange for filing duties.
- Provide large-button touch-tone telephone for someone who has low vision or poor hand coordination.
3. To enable an employee with a disability to enjoy
benefits and privileges of employment.
Pathway to work: remove shrubbery and signs that obstruct walkways.
Provide accessible break rooms, lunch rooms, and training rooms.
At the workstation, lowering shelves or raising the desk.
Replace small knobs and switches with larger, easier-to-grasp handles.
Install Braille or large, raise lettered directional signs and elevator controls.
Reserve extra-wide parking spaces near building entrances.
B. Reasonable Accommodations Not Required
- If an employer is unaware of the need.
- If providing the accommodation would cause undue hardship.
- Employers are free to choose accommodations and can provide those less expensive or easier to obtain.
C. Average Cost for Employers to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities
31% No Cost
19% $501 - $1000
19% $1 - $50
11% $1001 - 5000
19% $51 - $500
1 % More than $5000
D. How do I determine what a Reasonable Accommodation should be?
Most situations are going to be different and therefore will require some creative thought and input from the individuals involved (employee, supervisor, human resource staff, etc.).
Resources exist to assist in modifying, adapting, and providing accessibility to your office or plant for both the newly hired or newly disabled employee. Some of these are provided at no cost.
The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities' Job Accommodations Network (JAN) offers toll-free consultation. They can be reached at: (800)JAN 7234 (Voice/TDD - except West Virginia); (800) 526-4698 (Voice/TDD - West Virginia only); (800) 526-2262 (Voice/TDD - Canada); (800)ADA-WORK (Voice/TDD - ADA Information).
Additional resources are available at the state and local level. State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies are often a good source. Also, check with your State Governor's Committee or Local Mayor's Committee on employment of people with disabilities for local resources.
E. Guiding Principles for Providing Reasonable Accommodations
- Reasonable accommodations should be provided in a manner that does not stigmatize or disempower the individual.
- The employer should start with a mind set that recognizes the individual's strengths and potential contributions to the organization, respects the person as an individual, and exhibits a willingness to engage in joint problem solving.
- The individual should be involved in all decision making about his or her position, including developing the job description and identifying reasonable accommodations, which should be updated periodically to meet the individualšs changing needs.
- All reasonable accommodations should be voluntary.
- An environment should be provided in which disabilities and reasonable accommodations are accepted, disclosure is not punished, and an individualšs desire for confidentiality is respected.
F. The Reasonable Accommodation Process
Scenario: A sack handler position requires an employee to pick up a 50-pound sacks and carry them from the loading dock to the storage room. A sack handler impaired by a back injury requests a reasonable accommodation.
Steps: Analyze the particular job in question and determine its purpose and essential functions.
1. Methods of Accommodation
A. Consult with the employee with a disability to:
1. Determine the precise job-related limitation imposed by the individual's disability;
2. Determine how those limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation;
3. Get the employee's recommendation on accommodation needed.
B. In consultation with the employee:
1. Identify and investigate potential accommodations;
2. Determine feasibility; and
3. Assess the effectiveness each would have in enabling the individual to perform the essential functions of the position.
C. Give primary consideration to the preference of the individual:
1. Select and implement the accommodation that would be most effective.
2. Monitor its progress.
2. Reasonable Accommodation Options
1. Making existing facilities readily accessible.
2. Acquiring new equipment.
3. Modifying existing equipment.
4. Job restructuring.
5. Changing the work schedule.
6. Reassigning a newly disabled employee to a vacant position because they can no longer perform their old job.
7. Changing tests and training materials.
8. Changing company policies.
9. Hiring a reader or interpreter.
10. Permitting the use of accrued paid leave or providing additional unpaid leave for necessary treatment.
11. Making employer-provided transportation accessible to individuals with disabilities, in cases where it is already being provided to all other employees.
12. Providing reserved parking spaces.
13. Sometimes offering personal assistance (i.e. offered from an outside agency free of charge or minimal assistance by another employee).
G. Undue Hardship
The following is a list of factors to help determine if the requested accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the organization.
1. The nature and net cost of the accommodation.
2. The overall financial resources of the facility, the number of persons employed, and the effect on expenses and resources.
3. The overall financial resources of the employer, the size of the business, number of employees and the number, type, and location of facilities.
4. The type of operations of the employer.
5. The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the facility, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and on the ability to conduct business.
H. Examples of Disabilities, Possible Access Issues, & Accommodations
|Disability||Possible Access||Possible Solutions
|Blind & vision Impaired (include not only those who are totally blind, but also those with limited vision
||Path of travelDisplays of informationControls with written directions Elevators operating buttonsCompletion of written forms
||"Talking" computers, calculatorsLabeling in BrailleRespond to questions orallyAir radio announcementsAvoid clutter in passagewaysUse writing, drawing, optical aids (e.g. magnifiers)
|Deaf & Hearing Impaired (including not only those persons who are totally deaf, but also those with limited hearing)
||Information obtained through:
2. Warning devices(e.g., fire alarms, public address systems)
3. Equipment operating noises
|Use of amplification devicesInstallations of TDDPublication of written announcementsAllow mail-in-procedures to be usedPolicy accommodating lip readersUse visual cues for signage
3. Operating instructions
|Willingness of someone to assist and/or answer questions and provide directions
|Difficulty with Upper Body Movement (including not only those persons who have limited use of arms, shoulder; persons who use wheelchairs or crutches; people of short stature; those who cannot perform certain hand movements, or have difficulty controlling movement)
||Difficulty operating (or locating or reaching) certain hardware:
1. Hand controls on doors
2. Toilet room fixtures
3. Water fountains
5. Vending machines
6. Light fixtures
|Relocating a program or service to accessible areaUse of adaptive equipment or modification of present hardware
|Mobility Impairments (including those persons having difficulties, stamina limitations, as well as those who use wheelchairs and crutches
|| No grasp bars. handrails, other supportsNo designated parking spaces for disabled people Distance from parking, public transportation stopsRoute of travel
1. Curbs, walks, unleveled surfaces
2. Carpeting, Textured title supportsEntrances and doorsRestrooms, phones, water fountainsLocation of controls, general hardware
|Replace existing hardware, equipmentMake necessary structural changes to eliminate barriers;
1. Install ramps
2. Widen doorways
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