ADA & Disabilities

Finally … A Reasonable Explanation of ADA Reasonable Accommodation …

… and the ADA’s other key term, “undue hardship,” made less unduly hard to understand.

What foreign language did you take in school? French or Spanish, perhaps?

Well, apparently, there are some pretty talented editors who took legalese … the ability to translate government regulatory jargon into understandable English … and they majored in it.

The proof comes in checklists that recently appeared in our sister publication, Best Practices in HR.

The checklists tackle the two of the most important, but also most confusing, terms in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.).

Got ADA questions? Answer them with BLR’s Complete Guide to ADA Compliance. Try it on us! Read more. (For more information on the newsletter, Best Practices in HR, click here.)

Examples of Reasonable …and Unreasonable … Accommodations

The terms are “reasonable accommodation,” which is what an employer needs to do to allow a person with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a job, and “undue hardship,” which is the reason EEOC gives to exempt employers from ADA compliance when making an accommodation would seriously impair their businesses.

Working off EEOC guidance, here are the examples Best Practices in HR gave for what may be a reasonable accommodation:

–Making existing facilities accessible
–Job restructuring
–Reassignment to a vacant position
–Part-time or modified schedules
–Acquiring or modifying equipment
–Changing the physical layout of the work area
–Removing requirements to stand when a job is performed
–Changing tests, training materials, or policies
–Providing readers or interpreters

On the other hand, Best Practices in HR also provided these examples of what EEOC says it may view as an unreasonable accommodation:

–Eliminating an essential job function
–Lowering production standards (after reasonable accommodations have been instituted)
–Having to provide personal-use items for daily activities (prosthetics, wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.)
–Arrangements that conflict with the company’s seniority system, regardless of whether it is a product of collective bargaining or simply of management decision

Do your job descriptions comply with ADA standards? Find out in the Complete Guide to ADA Compliance. Start your complimentary trial now. Click here.

Factors Leading to Undue Hardship

As to what is an “undue hardship,” when put in real-life terms, the government looks at these factors:

–The nature and cost of the accommodation needed
–The overall financial resources of the facility making the accommodation
–The number of persons employed at the facility
–The effect on the facility’s expenses and resources
–The type of operation, including the structure and function of the workforce, its geographical separateness, and the administrative or physical relationship of the facility making the accommodation

Summing it up …

–the impact of the accommodation on the operation of the facility

This advice comes with a caveat, however.

“Keep in mind that just because you determine that a particular accommodation would be an undue hardship, that doesn’t excuse you from exploring the possibility of other accommodations.”

Learn ADA Through Everyday Examples!
If you can reduce the complexities of the Americans with Disabilities Act to everyday workplace examples, you’ve got a better chance at avoiding the legal problems a lack of understanding can bring. That’s the concept behind BLR’s Complete Guide to ADA Compliance. See how it works. Try the book on us. Click for info.