What Does It Mean to Provide Reasonable Accommodations?
Making reasonable accommodations is a term you hear a lot in reference to the workplace and anti-discrimination laws. Employers whenever possible, should make accommodations for employees.
Definition and Examples
The DOL (Department of Labor) references the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it defines accommodations as “a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done during the hiring process.” The adjustment enables a disabled individual to have an equal opportunity to do productive work.
Examples of accommodations include:
- Accessible restrooms
- Ergonomic workstations
- Job restructuring
- Part-time or modified work schedules
- Acquiring or modifying equipment
- Changing tests, training materials or policies
- Providing qualified readers or interpreters
- Ensuring computer software is accessible
- Providing screen reader software
- Videophones to facilitate communication for deaf workers
- Providing sign language interpreters or close captioning at meetings and events
- Making materials available in Braille or large print
- Modifying policy to allow a service animal in a business meeting
- Adjusting work schedules to allow employees with chronic medical conditions to go to medical appointments
Accommodation for Religion
Laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices or beliefs. The exception is when it would cause difficulty or expense for the employer. Allowing employees to trade shifts with another employee so they can go to their religious services is an example of reasonable accommodation.
Accommodation for Pregnancy
While pregnancy is not a disabled condition in the sense that the person is unwell, employers should make accommodations for pregnant workers. Examples would be adjusting work hours to a more modified schedule or adjusting the type of work so it is less strenuous. Assigning heavy lifting to other workers would be an example.
Do You Have Questions About Reasonable Accommodations?
At Stephen Hans & Associates, our attorneys are glad to answer your questions and provide legal advice. Years of experience have provided us with extensive knowledge regarding employment law, and we have represented numerous employers in matters involving workplace litigation.