According to the Department of Labor, a job accommodation is a reasonable adjustment to a job or work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to perform their job duties. Determining whether to provide an accommodation involves considering the required job tasks, the functional limitations of the person doing the job, the level of hardship to the employer, and other issues. Accommodations may include specialized equipment, facility modifications, and adjustments to work schedules or job duties, as well as a whole range of other creative solutions.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must provide accommodations, and pay any costs involved, to any qualified job applicant or employee if the accommodation is considered reasonable. A reasonable accommodation is one that does not pose an undue hardship on an employer. An example of a reasonable accommodation would be to purchase a specific desk or computer keyboard that provides the employee with a tool to be successful in the workplace. Undue hardships are defined as accommodations considered being too costly for the employer to put into place (i.e. installing an elevator where an elevator does not exist).
The process of finding solutions to job accommodations can be instrumental for an employee’s success. Job seekers can be proactive in brainstorming potential accommodations to be used to carry out the major job responsibilities. People with disabilities have a good frame of reference of job barriers they have experienced in the past. After reading the job description and completing the job interview, they may be able to identify potential accommodations quickly. Further discussion between the hiring manager and the job applicant can target workable solutions. It is important to know that employers are not required to implement any accommodations suggested by the employee, but to find a solution that effectively meets the needs of an employee with disabilities.
IowaWORKS is a tremendous resource for accommodations based on the specific disability. We can work through how a person with disabilities begins the conversation with a potential employer and provide the direction on how this discussion can be successful. Please stop in to your closest office to find ways we may be able to help.