Putting Employment Issues Behind You

What do reasonable accommodations look like?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Disability

The modern workforce includes a lot of people who have both visible and “hidden” disabilities, and employers are broadly expected to make reasonable accommodations.

What exactly does that mean? The answer depends a lot on the nature of your disability, your workplace and your job duties. In general, however, reasonable accommodations refer to minor adjustments and modifications that employers can make to “level the playing field” for employees with disabilities. 

What are some examples of reasonable accommodations?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws protect your right to ask for things like:

  • Flexible work schedules: This can involve working from home, job-sharing arrangements and adjusting start and end times.
  • Accessibility options: If you are mobility impaired, reasonable accommodations could include asking your employer to install a ramp, move your parking spot, add a bigger stall to the bathroom or change your workstation so you don’t have to walk as far.
  • Assistive technology This can include screen readers if you’re visually impaired, ergonomic keyboards and chairs for joint issues and speech-to-text software.
  • Modified job duties: Are some of your job duties less essential than others? Modifications might include having someone else answer the calls if you are a hearing-impaired employee, or assigning someone else to do your filing because you have a back injury.
  • Flexible leave: If you have a chronic illness, you may need to be able to take leave in small increments, rather than a day at a time, to go to doctor’s visits or take breaks.

It’s important to remember that asking for reasonable accommodations is just asking your employer to remove barriers that prevent you – as a qualified, capable employee – from fully participating in the workforce and doing your job. If your employer flatly refuses to consider any accommodations or penalizes you in some way for using them (or even asking for them), you may need to consider additional legal guidance.