We Protect Workers

What are reasonable accommodations?

Companies are often required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have various disabilities. Refusing to do so can be seen as a type of discrimination. The same is true if the company simply refuses to hire anyone with a disability. If that worker could perform the job correctly with reasonable accommodations, then the business has an obligation to provide them.

This often leads to disputes regarding what exactly constitutes a reasonable accommodation. Below are a few examples.

Technological updates

In some cases, it’s as simple as updating computer software so that it’s accessible to the person based on their disability. If they have a visual impairment, they may use screen-reading software, for example. If they have a hearing impairment, smartphones and other devices may be used to facilitate communication.

Physical updates

In other cases, physical changes will be needed in the workplace. Maybe a restroom needs to be modified or a ramp needs to be installed so that the business adheres to the ADA guidelines. Perhaps the employer needs to address the type of stations that workers use. For example, employees may typically work at standing desks or high counters, but it may be easy to equip one station with a lower desk that can be accessed from a wheelchair.

What happens if the employer refuses?

Unfortunately, some employers will claim they don’t have to make these changes or they will simply refuse to do so. They may say that the changes are too expensive or that they aren’t reasonable. Employees who find themselves in this position need to be well aware of all the legal steps they can take to rectify things.