HR Support on Reasonable Accommodation (ADA Laws)

Editor's Note: The duty to accommodate under the ADA is a requirement, not an option.

Melissa S. BurdorfOverview: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer's business.

An employer's duty to make reasonable accommodations extends to all employment decisions, and it applies to job applicants and full- and part-time employees. Examples of accommodations include:

  • Readers or sign language interpreters;
  • Reallocation of marginal job duties;
  • Light duty (on the same basis that the employer offers it to similarly situated employees);
  • Telecommuting;
  • Modified training materials;
  • Different work schedule (e.g., different work hours, part-time schedule); or
  • Medical leave of absence.

Trends: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has entered into multi-million dollar settlements with employers that inflexibly and universally apply a leave limit policy (such as no-fault attendance policies) without looking at the reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA.

Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor

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