Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), it is illegal for most employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of physical or mental disability. This law also grants individuals with disabilities the right to seek reasonable accommodations from their employers to make it possible for them to perform their jobs.

A reasonable accommodation is a change to an individual’s work duties or environment that enable him or her to perform job duties without imposing an undue hardship on the company or its other employees. Although an employee is entitled to seek such accommodations, an employer may reject an accommodation and provide an alternative plan if they feel the proposed accommodation puts other employees’ safety at risk or creates a financial burden for the company. Below are a few examples of reasonable accommodations disabled employees may receive.

A Modified Work Environment

A disabled employee may ask for accommodations to his or her work environment, such as:

A wheelchair-accessible office, cubicle, or bathroom;
Noise-canceling headphones or the opportunity to work in an area free from distractions or stimulation because of his or her ADD, ADHD, or autism;
A magnifier for a computer monitor or an assistive telecommunication device; and
Hiring a reader or sign language interpreter to provide aid as necessary, such as during training.

Time Off for Medical Treatments

When an individual’s disability makes it necessary for him or her to receive ongoing medical treatment or therapy, he or she may seek alterations to a work schedule to permit for this treatment. The employee may ask to leave early, arrive at work late, take time off, or telecommute on days he or she has treatment.

Changes to Workplace Materials

Another reasonable accommodation a disabled employee may seek is changes to workplace materials like training manuals, employee documents, and programs. This can be done by providing a braille alternative, sign language interpretation, or changes to how an employee may use such materials. In this last scenario, an employee might be permitted to take an assessment orally, rather than writing answers.

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