What does Accommodation mean?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, an employer must make reasonable accommodations in the work environment for those with mental or physical limitations which will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to take part in the application process or to do essential job functions. Modifications must be made unless the employer can prove the accommodation would cause an “undue hardship” and would jeopardize an employer’s operations. Accommodations must be reasonable and must create equal opportunity for the disabled worker while maintaining their dignity. Modifications need not be perfect. They also do not have to meet the preferences of the worker, but they should meet the employee’s needs. Although employees may be reluctant to seek accommodation for fear of stigma or a negative reaction on the part of the employer or other workers, if an employee does come forward, employers should be sensitive, respect the worker’s privacy, and work diligently to create trust and communication as they accommodate the worker. Accommodation falls within three general categories: changes to a job application process to create an equal opportunity to apply and be considered for jobs; modifications to give equal access to the privileges and benefits of employment; and changes that make it possible for an employee with a disability to gain access to the workplace so they can do the essential functions of their job.

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