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What are reasonable accommodations?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Employee Law, Federal Employment Law, Reasonable Accommodation

The federal government is one of the largest employers in the United States. Under federal law, it must provide equal opportunity for all employees, including people with disabilities. To that end, the government must provide reasonable accommodations for employees who qualify as disabled under the law and ask for reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are changes to a disabled employee’s work environment or duties that allows them to perform their essential job functions despite their disability.

Examples of reasonable accommodations

Reasonable accommodations can vary vastly depending on the employee, their disability and their job responsibilities. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Changing the office environment to make it easier for the employee to work
  • Providing help with technology the employee uses to do their job
  • Providing flexible work arrangements consistent with the employee’s needs
  • Providing changes in the employee’s job duties to accommodate their disability
  • Providing individualized training and support to assist the employee perform better

Fostering a work environment that understands and welcomes employees with disabilities is critical because it is required by law. However, it can sometimes be challenging.

What supervisors can do

Supervisors can counter these challenges by promoting disability awareness and inclusivity in their departments and teams. By fostering an environment where there is awareness, the employer is following the law and creating a more inclusive environment for everyone in the workplace.

There are things that employers can do to help integrate employees who are not disabled with employees who are. These activities support the goals of inclusivity and promoting empathy.

Legal limits of reasonable accommodations

It is essential to mention that reasonable accommodations are limited under the law. Employers are required to provide these accommodations for employees only if doing so does not result in undue hardship for the employer, which means significant difficulties or costs that interfere with the employer’s operations.

Ultimately, even though the burden of providing reasonable accommodations often falls on the employer, the aim of these laws is to protect people from discrimination, to allow more Americans to participate in the workforce and to expand awareness of the many different kinds of disabilities that exist.


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