If you’re struggling with a certain disability or disability-related issue, you know how difficult it can be to perform certain tasks in the workplace. That’s one of the reasons why disability discrimination is so prevalent. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides a number of protections for those who face disability discrimination in the workplace. One such protection is usually known as “reasonable accommodations.”
What are reasonable accommodations?
Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to both the application and hiring process as well as the work environment that make it possible for a disabled individual to get equal access to the benefits of employment.
Reasonable accommodations are not only limited to changes, like ramps, automatic doors and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. They can also include changes to the job interview schedule and time off for disability-related appointments. Many organizations also provide disability-related reasonable accommodations, such as interpreters, readers and notetakers.
Who should provide reasonable accommodations?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers who have at least 15 employees are generally required to provide reasonable accommodations. However, depending on state laws, the number of employees required to provide disability-related accommodations may vary.
The following are examples of disability types that might warrant reasonable accommodations:
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism
- Vision or hearing impairments
- Cognitive disability (learning disability, such as dyslexia)
What can I do if my employer refuses to provide reasonable accommodations?
If your employer does not provide you disability-related accommodations despite having more than 15 employees, you may have grounds to file a disability discrimination lawsuit. You can start by filing a disability discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces civil rights laws in the workplace, including disability discrimination law.
Employers should know that reasonable accommodations do not usually have a negative impact on business operations or costs or compromise the safety of other employees. Moreover, the best part about reasonable accommodations is that they don’t have to be expensive or difficult to implement; in many cases, just a small change can make all the difference.