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Learn about making workplace accommodations

All employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs. "Reasonable accommodations", as required by the ADA, are modifications or adjustments to jobs, work environments, or workplace policies that enable qualified employees with disabilities to perform the fundamental duties of their jobs and have equal access to benefits available to employees without disabilities. Accommodations should not focus on the person's disability but rather on essential job tasks and the physical functions necessary to complete them.

The following resources can help employers understand reasonable accommodations, which are often much easier and less expensive to implement than commonly believed:

Helpful Resources and Information on Job Accommodations

  • Employer's Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation
  • Ergonomics Resources
    OSHA has a four-pronged comprehensive approach to ergonomics designed to quickly and effectively address musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace.
  • FlexOptions
    Sponsored by the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, FlexOptions encourages business owners and organizations to develop workplace flexibility policies and procedures in response to the growing demand for such options and accommodations in the workplace.
  • Investing in People: Job Accommodation Situations and Solutions
    Provides examples of a range of workplace accommodations and corresponding costs.
  • The Job Accommodation Process: Steps to Collaborative Solutions
    Outlines the process necessary to achieve successful job accommodations.

Accommodations for People with Specific Disabilities www.ilr.cornell.edu/hrtips

  • Accommodating the Allergic Employee in the Workplace
    Discusses defining the allergic employee, allergies to workplace exposure, occupational exposure limits and the sensitive worker, and accommodating the allergic employee.
  • Assistive Technology, Accommodations and the ADA
    Describes Assistive Technology (AT), services, the benefits of AT as it relates to the ADA. Myths about AT, and steps to take to ensure effective use of AT accommodations.
  • Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality and What You Can Do about It
    Discusses what poor indoor air quality is and what are the causes and typical symptoms, and what could be reasonable accommodations under the ADA for a person who needs better air quality.
  • Employing and Accommodating Individuals with Histories of Alcohol and Drug Abuse
    Discusses what is "current" illegal use of a drug, what medical tests or inquires are permitted, and what accommodations may be needed for a person with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Employing and Accommodating Workers with Psychiatric Disabilities
    Discusses how psychiatric disabilities might affect an individual's functioning in the workplace, and types of accommodations for workers with psychiatric disabilities.
  • Employing and Accommodating Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries
    Topics include: What is a Spinal Cord Injury, Considerations in the Hiring Process, Solving Common Work Issues, Resources to Help with Accommodation and Retaining Employees.
  • Employment Considerations for People Who Have Diabetes
    Discusses workplace implications of diabetes, reasonably accommodating a person who has diabetes, non-discrimination in training and promotion, etc.
  • Innovative Workplace Safety Accommodations for Hearing-Impaired Workers
    The purpose of this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is to provide employers, workers and professional organizations guidance on accommodating the safety and health needs of hearing-impaired individuals in the workplace.
  • Maximizing Productivity: Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities
    Provides examples of the most effective and frequently used workplace accommodations that have helped employees with psychiatric disabilities to more effectively perform their jobs.
  • Working Effectively with People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Discusses accommodations for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and how employers can assist in the advancement of people with ADHD.
  • Working Effectively with People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
    Discusses accommodating the person who is blind or visually impaired, enhancing productivity on the job, and tips for on-the-job training.
  • Working Effectively with People Who Have Sustained a Brain Injury
    Discusses implications of the ADA for individuals in the workplace accommodation process who have sustained a brain injury. Many veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have sustained brain injuries.
  • Working Effectively with Persons Who Have Cognitive Disabilities
    Discusses who is likely to need an accommodation; what considerations might be important in the job application and interview processes, and job training and job performance considerations.
  • Working Effectively with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    Discusses what is the impact of hearing loss at work, and accommodating the person who is deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Working Effectively with Individuals Who Have Epilepsy
    Main topics are: First Aid for Seizures; Is Epilepsy Really a Concern at the Work Place for those with an Active Condition? Implications of the ADA for Individuals with Epilepsy; Accommodation Issues for the Individual with Epilepsy.
  • Working Effectively with Individuals Who Are HIV-Positive
    Discusses what an employer may ask about medical conditions around HIV or AIDS, what types of accommodations should be considered, and issues of direct threat.
  • Working Effectively with People with Learning Disabilities
    What is a Learning Disability, impact, causes, potential functional limitations, and workplace accommodations?
  • Workplace Accommodations for Individuals with Arthritis
    Topics covered include an Overview of Arthritis, Who is considered an individual with arthritis; what types of accommodations should be considered.
  • Workplace Accommodations for Persons with Musculoskeletal Disorders
    Discusses the types of accommodations to be considered when returning the employee with a musculoskeletal disorder to the job, maximizing the disabled employee's potential for success.
  • Your Employees and Cancer – Working Together
    Discusses what is cancer and some treatments, and what could be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA for an employee with cancer.

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