A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to a work environment or job tasks that allows a qualified worker to substantially perform the job in question. This may include workers who require reasonable accommodation to exercise their religion. More commonly, it includes reasonable accommodations to enable disabled workers to perform the job.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers and other covered entities from discriminating against disabled workers by failing to make reasonable accommodation to enable the worker to substantially perform their task (unless the employer or covered entity can show undue hardship). Statutes and regulations elaborate what is a reasonable accommodation. 42 USC § 12111 considers the following reasonable accommodation: “making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulation, 29 CFR § 1630.2(o)(1) elaborates on the 42 USC § 12111 and defines reasonable accommodation as the following:
(i) [m]odifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or (ii) [m]odifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable an individual with a disability who is qualified to perform the essential functions of that position; or (iii) [m]odifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.
The regulations continue, and 29 CFR § 1302.2(o)(1) describes that reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:
(i) [m]aking existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and (ii) [j]ob restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position; acquisition or modifications of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials, or policies; the provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]