What should you know about reasonable accommodations?

In 2020, the Americans with Disabilities Act hit its 30 year anniversary. This act – the ADA – ensures that all employees have a right to work, even with disabilities. In order to safeguard such rights, the ADA requires employers to make the accommodations necessary for workers with disabilities to do their jobs well and safely.

Of course, as with everything, there are restraints to the ADA though. For example, the accommodations employers have an expectation to make must fall within the bounds of what one would consider “reasonable”. But what does that mean?

What are reasonable accommodations?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses reasonable accommodation expected from small employers. Generally speaking, reasonable accommodations involve changes to the work environment or task management system that benefits an employee who has a disability.

Employers with at least 15 employees must provide this accommodation when and wherever possible, to any employee that requires them. But in some cases, the accommodations may create issues that cause undue hardship. In such cases, it is possible to gain an exemption from the ADA.

How to structure your accommodations

But if accommodations must happen, they can take place in several ways. First, employers can restructure the job. This can include an altering of the way the main job takes place or the delegation of minor tasks to other employees. Employers can replace these tasks with other minor tasks that the disabled employee can do, instead.

Employers can also modify policies that a disabled employee cannot comply with. Note that the policy only needs amendment for the disabled employee and not the entire staff.

Finally, employers can work with the employee for additional leave time. Employers cannot fire employees for taking leave related to their disabilities, so it is important to create accommodations where possible. Employers can work together with legal aid to ensure they do not violate any employee’s rights in the process.