Providing Reasonable Accommodation

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The ADA does not require employers to have specific procedures to provide a reasonable accommodation but generally written procedures are helpful.  The Amendments Act added a provision to the ADA stating that an accommodation is not required if altering the policies, practices or procedures, including academic requirements in postsecondary education, would funadamentally alter the nature of the goods and services.

When implementing reasonable accommodations it is important to—

  • Develop a realistic time frame that promptly responds to the request.
  • Keep lines of communication open.
  • Use outside resources if necessary.
  • Explain to the individual with the disability the reasonable accommodation and why it was chosen.

The employer may choose among reasonable accomodations 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. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.9(d).

It is not necessary to contact the EEOC about requested accommodations. However, if you have difficulty identifying an appropriate accommodation you may contact the EEOC or State and local vocational rehabilitation agencies and disability agencies for assistance.

Examples of reasonable accommodations for visual disabilities include—

  • An external computer screen magnifier
  • An accessible Web site
  • Software that will read information on the computer screen
  • Written materials in accessible format such as Braille or large print
  • Use of guide dog in the workplace

Click here for more information on accommodating vision impairments under the ADA.

An employer should not disclose to other employees that an employee is receiving a reasonable accommodation.  The ADA prohibits disclosure of medical information and telling employees that a co-worker is receiving a reasonable accommodation discloses that the co-worker has a disability.