What constitutes "reasonable accommodation?"

The rights of disabled Americans have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The law has undergone various updates throughout the years, including an update in 1994 stating business owners with a minimum of 15 employees need to abide by the law. 

Part of the ADA involves the employer making reasonable accommodations to ensure disabled employees are still capable of performing their jobs. Many employers wonder what entails "reasonable," and the answer depends on several factors, such as the size of the business and the nature of the worker's disability. There may be an array of changes employers need to make to provide everyone with the tools they need to thrive. 

Changes to the work environment

The ADA requires businesses to have accommodations in place to allow all people to enter the building. Altering the environment for employees may involve acquiring different furniture or adopting a different layout so that the person can move comfortably throughout the premises. 

Job arrangements

When an employee develops a disability after already working for the company for a while, alterations may become necessary so that the person can continue doing his or her job adequately. The employee may benefit from different working hours or spending a certain amount of time working from home. The employee may also need to take more time off work for rehabilitation or other medical treatments. 

Changes to workload

An employee who once performed manual labor for a company may no longer be able to carry out those duties after an injury. In the event assigning another colleague to assist the worker does not work, the employer may need to make other accommodations for the injured individual. This may require providing instructions and training to the worker to allow him or her to learn a new skill. In the event the employee used to travel a lot for work, the company may need to insist that clients see the employee directly in the workplace to make things easier. 

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