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What is reasonable accommodation regarding discrimination?

There is no reason for an employer to discriminate against a worker because of a disability; however, there are cases in which this happens for one reason or another. Not only can this impact the worker, but it can land the employer in trouble.

When it comes to disability discrimination, there are many laws and regulations that employers need to be aware of. This includes the definition of reasonable accommodation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines reasonable accommodation as follows:

"Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities."

Some of the most common examples of reasonable accommodation are as follows:

-- Job restructuring

-- Providing the appropriate types of devices or equipment

-- Modifying existing devices or equipment

-- Modified work schedules

-- Reassignment to an open position

-- Making accessibility changes to ensure safe use by those with disabilities

-- Providing interpreters and readers if necessary

An employer is required by law to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee or applicant as long as it will not lead to an undue hardship, such as an outrageous expense.

Understanding disability discrimination laws, including the finer details of reasonable accommodation, is important for both employers as well as those who are disabled. If a reasonable accommodation is not provided, a worker may wish to learn more about his or her legal rights as outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability" Oct. 06, 2014

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