Employment Accommodations Explained

Employment Accommodations Explained

– NARRATOR: Everyone needs the right tools to perform a job. (upbeat music) Chairs for employees who work at desks. Ladders for roofers who need
to get on top of a house. Even lunch breaks for people who need food to get through the day,
you know, like we all do. It makes good business
sense to have a workplace that accommodates everyone’s needs. And laws, like the Americans
with Disabilities Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act, are there to make sure
workers with disabilities are accommodated, too. So, what kind of accommodations
are we talking about? Special privileges for
special people, right? Gold-plated hover chairs? Trained seeing-eye unicorns? Not even close. Turns out employees with disabilities aren’t particularly special, and neither are the
accommodations they need to do their jobs. In fact, they’re pretty reasonable. Literally, it’s why the ADA calls them reasonable accommodations. Miguel works as an office assistant and his low vision makes using
a computer monitor difficult. So his employer provided
screen reading software that reads aloud onscreen
text and image descriptions. That’s a reasonable accommodation. June is a bookkeeper who experienced a traumatic brain injury. Concentrating for long periods of time is exhausting for her. So instead of taking one long break, her employer allows her to
take several short breaks. That’s a reasonable accommodation. And according to the Job
Accommodation Network, JAN, the majority of workplace accommodations, 59% cost absolutely nothing. But if there is an expense there are tax credits and
other incentives out there to support businesses in creating a more accessible workplace. So how do you go about getting
a reasonable accommodation? You’re the expert on what you need, so if you need something, ask for it. Step one, research simple solutions. While you may be the
only employee at your job with your disability, odds
are that someone somewhere has the solution you’re looking for. Resources like JAN have whole catalogs of useful, real-life
solutions to learn from. Step two, notify your employer. Notifying your employer of your need for an accommodation starts the process. Whether you speak with
them or send them an email. You may need to provide a medical letter or other documentation if requested. You do not need to tell your employer everything about your disability, just how it might affect your job duties. Step three, negotiate. Finding the right accommodation is not a one step process. It’s an interactive,
back-and-forth conversation. Your employer may propose
a different accommodation than the one you suggested. Consider whether their
idea would be effective. Or make another suggestion. And you may need to propose
more than one accommodation before finding the one
that works for everyone. Step four, approach a
higher-level colleague. If your employer rejects
your requested accommodation without making an alternative offer, or if your employer refuses
to discuss your request, communicate your request to
a higher-level individual, like your supervisor’s
manager, or the HR department. It is a good idea to keep notes about who you spoke with and the date. If all else fails, there’s
step five, file a claim. If you’re not getting
anywhere with the higher-ups, there are agencies that can help. Filing a claim involves
a lot of paperwork, and sometimes short deadlines, so it’s important to move quickly. No matter what steps you take, always remember that asking
for reasonable accommodations is not about getting special favors. It’s about getting what you
need to get your job done. Produced by Rooted in Rights.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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