In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Minnesota Council on Disability shares five things you should know about reasonable accommodations in the workplace. A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows someone to:
- apply for the job
- interview for the job
- perform the essential functions of the job (that is, the job duties required for the position)
- enjoy the benefits and privileges of the job
Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- providing or modifying equipment
- modified work schedules
- physical accessibility to the workspace
- modifications to company policies
Top 5 Things You Should Know
As a person with a disability:
- You have a right to ask for a reasonable accommodation.
- If the disability is not apparent, your employer may request a letter from a medical professional confirming the disability. The letter would also confirm that the requested accommodation is related to the disability. Note: If the disability is apparent, you do not need a letter confirming it.
- You have the right to engage in an interactive process. An interactive process is basically a conversation between you and the employer about your accommodation request. If the employer says “No” to the request, it must prove it is an undue hardship. An undue hardship could be more than a prohibitive financial cost. It could mean accommodations are too extensive, substantial, or disruptive. Or undue hardship could mean an accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.
- You should save resources for reasonable accommodations. Some resources are:
- If you feel you are being discriminated against because of a reasonable accommodation, contact:
Reasonable Accommodations Are a Right Not a Privilege
The relationship between employee and employer includes:
- An employer has a responsibility to support an employee in their job.
- A supervisor has the responsibility to provide an employee with the tools and resources they need to do their job.
This is true whether the employee has a disability or not.
Employers sometimes view reasonable accommodations as a privilege or special advantage for people with disabilities. They are not. Reasonable accommodations are another way to support employees and give them the tools they need to do their jobs. Reasonable accommodations are no different than providing an employee with a phone, a computer, and a desk.
Reasonable accommodations in the workplace are not a privilege, they are a right.