All employees need the right tools and work environment to effectively perform their jobs. Similarly, individuals with disabilities may need workplace adjustments - or accommodations - to maximize their productivity.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an accommodation is considered any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to apply for or perform a job. The term also encompasses alterations to ensure a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. The obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees with disabilities is one of the key non-discrimination requirements in the ADA's employment provisions.
Most accommodations are low cost yet yield considerable direct and indirect benefits. In fact, data collected by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) over the years reveal that more than half of accommodations cost employers nothing, and of those that do cost, the typical one-time expenditure is $500 - an outlay that most employers report pays for itself multiple-fold in the form of reduced insurance and training costs and increased productivity.
The following resources provide more information about job accommodations for people with disabilities:
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) - ODEP-funded service that provides free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and other disability employment issues. Live phone service is available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET by calling (800) 526-7234 or (877) 781-9403 (TTY). Assistance is also available in Spanish, both via phone and the JAN en Español Web page. Specific resources include:
- A to Z of Accommodations and Disabilities
- SOAR (Searchable Online Accommodation Resource)
- Multimedia Training Library
- Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact
- Employees' Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Employers' Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) - The federal government's centrally funded accommodation program. Provides assistive technology and services free of charge to federal agencies.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - Federal agency that administers and enforces the employment provisions of the ADA.
- ADA National Network - Network of 10 regional centers that offer businesses, government agencies and individuals information, guidance and training on the ADA, including its employment provisions.
- National Organization on Disability - Resouces to address employee's with disability needs