Reasonable Accommodation Law & Legal Definition


Reasonable accomodation means modifying or adjusting a job application process or a work environment to enable a qualified individual with a disability to be considered for a job. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which determines the rights and responsibilities of employers and individuals with disabilities concerning reasonable accommodation. For example, the right to reasonable accommodation is available even to part-time or probationary employees.

There are three categories of reasonable accommodations. They include modifications or adjustments to (1) the job application process; (2) the work environment or the circumstances in which a job is customarily performed; and (3) policies that set out the benefits and privileges of employment.

There are limits to what the ADA requires of an employer that receives an accommodation request. For example, an employer cannot be forced to eliminate an essential function of a position, such as one of its fundamental duties. Nor does an employer have to lower qualitative or quantitative production standards that are applied uniformly to employees with or without disabilities. The employer may choose among several reasonable accommodations as long as the selected method is effective in allowing the individual to perform the essential functions of the position. The primary exception to the duty of accommodation is undue hardship on the employer. Undue hardship issue may result from quantitative, financial, or other limitations on an employer's ability to provide reasonable accommodation.

"The term reasonable accommodation may include--

(A) making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and

(B) 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." (42 USCS § 12111)