What is the Best Way to Identify a Reasonable Accommodation?

It is indeed a difficult job to provide reasonable accommodation to employees in employment scenarios governed by ADA. There may be different impairments in different people. Moreover, the same disease may result in different inabilities which may need to be accommodated differently. In fact, the same impairment may impact individuals differently. Moreover, different individuals may be engaged in different roles. This is why the employer needs to come up with the appropriate process for identifying the most appropriate and reasonable accommodation. 


Reasonable accommodation for employees

  • Get Interactive: In such a scenario, you need to engage with the concerned employee in an interactive manner and utilize your impression about the most likely problems of the individual to determine the best accommodation for that particular individual. So it can be different for different people. 
  • Case to case basis: Reasonable accommodations must always be considered on a case-to-case basis as it depends a lot on individual abilities to cope with situations, physical prowess, the impact of diseases, etc.
  • Define the essential functions of a job: You need to have control over the definition of the essential functions of a job, and this must be the same throughout the organization. So, it is you who should have the authority to define the functions of a job. This will do away with variable interpretations of a job and therefore multitude of problems arising out of reasonable accommodation. The description of your job should be a very strict one and it will help you in your ADA compliance when it comes to offering reasonable accommodation.
  • Just discuss what and how: While discussing reasonable accommodation, you need to stick to the basics: what difficulties the employee is facing and how to reasonably accommodate it. Cut out any fluff and make it a short, concise and yet comprehensive interactive session.


Reasonable Accommodation For Job Interviewees

If there are disabled people who cannot apply for the job due to some of the other procedures in the job application process, you may consider modifying the job application process so that the concerned candidate can apply for the position. You need to remember that the ADA obliges you to look for reasonable accommodation even during the process of selection of candidates. However, this does not mean that you have to change or modify job requirements during the selection process because some of the candidates have difficulty in doing a job. 


Reasonable accommodation for employees on leave as well as former employees

As an employer, you are supposed to accommodate employees who are on leave and even former employees who have disabilities. In terms of ADA, they are supposed to receive equal benefits of employment with others. For them, reasonable accommodation may include health insurance, disability insurance, bonuses, job protection, and even promotions. However, you can surely reduce and even terminate the employee’s health insurance benefits because he or she is working fewer hours on account of disability.

In fact, you can adopt health insurance eligibility criteria and deny some employees of your organization insurance benefits for working less or constrained hours while trying to provide the best accommodation to the employee.


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