The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability. An employer must make an accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources and the nature and structure or its operation. An employer is not required to lower production or quality standards, nor provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.
Workplace barriers may prohibit disabled individuals from performing jobs that they could do with some form of accommodation. Barriers may include physical obstacles, or they may be procedures or rules. Reasonable accommodations remove workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations may include changes to application process, changes to the work environment or to the way a job is usually done, or changes to enable an employee to enjoy equal privileges and benefits of employment
Examples of reasonable accommodations include the following:
Examples of things that are NOT considered reasonable accommodations:
There is no formal way that a request for a reasonable accommodation must be made. The individual need only make known to the employer that he or she needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. The person can use plain English, and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation.” Requests need not be in writing, but the employer may want to confirm the request in writing by letter or memorandum.
When the disability or need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask for reasonable documentation about the disability and functional limitations. The employer and the individual should work together informally to determine what the individual needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. The employer may ask the individual questions to help make an informed decision, including what type of accommodation is needed. There are extensive public and private resources to assist employers and individuals with disabilities who are not familiar with possible accommodations.
The employer may choose among reasonable accommodations as long as the chosen accommodation is effective (i.e., it removes the workplace barrier at issue). The employer may suggest alternative accommodations, and the employer may choose the less expensive alternative or the one that is easier to provide. The employer is not required to give the employee the accommodation that the individual wants. Similarly, the employee is not required to accept the accommodation offered by the employer; however, as long as the accommodation offered by the employer is reasonable and effective, the employer has fulfilled his or her obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation.
 See, e.g., Hedrick v. Western Reserve Care System, 355 F.3d 444 (6th Cir. 2004).