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Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

A recent report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics identified that the percentage of employed persons with a disability is nearly 18%.[1] With this growing statistic in the workforce, employers and their HR teams are lacking confidence on the subject of reasonable accommodations. How are employer responsibilities defined? What does it mean? What resources are available?

Employer Responsibilities

Employers are required, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to ensure they are able to perform their core job functions. However, employers are not required to make changes to the work environment or job duties if the accommodations result in a significant expense or difficulty for the employer.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Employees with disabilities may request that their employer provide reasonable accommodations to ensure they are able to perform their core job duties to the best of their ability. Reasonable accommodation requests may include:

  • Alternative work schedules
  • Workspace layout modifications
  • Additional training time or refresher courses
  • Memory software
  • Electronic organizers

Available Resources*

The Job Accommodation Network is among one of the top resources for employers and employees regarding reasonable accommodations. Their online resource (searchable online accommodation resource (SOAR)) allows users to search and explore the database for accommodation options. View the full database. []

The Computer Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides information on available technologies to “maintain, increase, or improve an individual’s job performance…”[2] Users are able to browse a list of solutions to accommodate persons with a variety of limitations, including blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, and dexterity.

*This is not an inclusive list of all resources available to employers or employees.

Good to Know

Reasonable accommodations extend beyond civilians, also protecting service members with disabilities returning to work.

Harbor America supports employers’ good hiring practices and reasonable accommodations for disabled persons. Learn more about equal opportunity recruiting, human resources, and employee benefits.