People with disabilities bring as much to the workforce as those without disabilities. To perform job tasks efficiently, some workers may need minor adjustments to their work areas or how they perform duties.
Under some circumstances, failing to make reasonable accommodations for workers or job applicants with disabilities violates their rights. Therefore, disabled workers may benefit from understanding the laws as they apply to employers allowing them the opportunity to work.
What accommodations must employers make?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled workers to ensure they have the same opportunities as other applicants to get the job, to make it so employees with disabilities can enjoy the same privileges and benefits of employment as their coworkers, and so qualified people with disabilities can perform a job’s basic functions. For example, this may include actions such as installing a ramp, changing the layout of the workspace, providing screen reader software or other accessible software, or allowing a service animal where policies previously prevented them.
Do employers always have to accommodate disabled workers?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if doing so would cause them undue hardship, employers may not have to provide accommodations for disabled workers. Employers cannot simply refuse because to do so would involve some cost, however. Rather, they can only say no to adjusting for disabled workers if to do so, based on their size, needs and financial resources would be too expensive or difficult.
Workers who feel they experienced discrimination in the workplace based on a disability may consider options such as filing a formal complaint or taking legal action.