As someone with a disability, you have the right to reasonable accommodations at your workplace. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must make adjustments or modifications to jobs or work environments to allow disabled people to work, as long as the changes do not cause significant expenses or difficulties for employers.
But what changes count as reasonable accommodations? This may depend on the specific job or workplace, but here are some examples of reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.
1. Making an alteration to an existing workplace
Employers can modify facilities to provide access for people with disabilities. Some adjustments may include:
- Installing a ramp
- Making breakrooms and bathrooms accessible
- Modifying a chair or desk
- Changing the layout of a work area
These minor changes are often easy to make and do not cost very much.
2. Policy refinements
Accommodating a person with a disability may be as simple as rewriting an employment policy. For example, some people with disabilities get help from trained service animals. Employers can change their policies to allow assistive animals in the workplace. Another example is allowing workers with chronic conditions to complete their duties at alternate times so they can attend medical appointments.
3. Restructuring the job or schedules
Another easy way to help disabled workers is by distributing certain tasks. For example, while a disabled data processing clerk may be able to type on the computer, he or she may have a speech impairment and have difficulty talking on the phone. The employer can put the responsibility of taking and making phone calls on someone else. Changes to the schedule may also be necessary, such as implementing a flexible leave policy or reducing hours.
Even subtle changes to workplaces can make major differences for disabled people. If you face resistance from your employer, you should consider your legal options because you deserve accommodation.