The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations so that disabled individuals can access the same job opportunities and perform to the same level as those who do not have disabilities. These accommodations take diverse forms and ideally help an employee successfully perform his or her essential role functions.

If you have a diagnosed disability, read on to learn about how reasonable accommodations could benefit you in the workplace.

Accommodation guidelines

The ADA mandates that any company with at least 15 employees provide reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. In Pennsylvania, however, this requirement applies to all public employers and private employers with at least four employees.

Types of accommodations

Common examples of reasonable workplace accommodations include the following:

  • Physical changes to the workspace, such as a wheelchair ramp
  • Changes in policy, such as implementation of flexible work hours for employees who need regular doctor visits during the day
  • Purchase of accessible and assistive technology, such as screen reader software for visually impaired employees
  • Development of accessible communication materials, such as employee resources in large print or Braille

Starting the process

Employers legally must review requests for reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis. First, talk to your company’s human resources department to disclose your disability if you have not already done so and find out if a protocol for accommodation requests exists. The employer can ask for documentation of your disability from a health care provider before agreeing to requested accommodations.

Employers may not share information about your accommodations with your co-workers or place details in your file. Once you and your employer have agreed on and implemented a plan for accommodations, let HR know how these changes have impacted your ability to work effectively and whether you need adjustments. Your employer can only deny a reasonable accommodation request if the company can prove that it would pose an undue hardship.