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Office of Disability Employment Policy

ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic

Accommodations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, covered employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to qualified job applicants and employees with disabilities. In the employment context, a reasonable accommodation is defined as any change or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that would allow an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace. Accommodations have accurately been described as “productivity enhancers” and come in many shapes and forms, including:

  • Physical changes
    • Installing a ramp
    • Modifying a workspace
  • Accessible and assistive technologies
    • Ensuring application software is accessible, e.g. online application systems
    • Providing screen reader software
    • Utilizing videophones to facilitate communications with colleagues who are deaf
  • Accessible communications
    • Providing sign language interpreters or closed captioning at meetings and events
    • Making materials available in Braille or large print
  • Policy enhancements
    • Modifying a policy to allow a service animal in a business setting
    • Adjusting work schedules to allow employees with chronic medical issues to go to medical appointments and complete their work at alternate times or locations

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)These are just examples and not a comprehensive list. Individuals and employers who would like additional information or ideas about accommodations should contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is an ODEP-funded technical assistance center providing free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities and other employment-related issues.

Reasonable accommodations should not be viewed as special treatment and in fact often benefit more than the requesting employee. For example, facility enhancements such as ramps and accessible restrooms benefit more than just employees with disabilities.

Additional information about reasonable accommodations is available from these federal resources: