HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Reasonable Accommodation

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change to the hiring process, the way a job is done, or the job environment to enable a qualified person with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job. Created by Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations are considered reasonable if they do not create a threat or undue hardship. 

What Employers Must Offer Reasonable Accommodations?

The ADA requires employers with over 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations. Some local laws may require employers to offer reasonable accommodations for less than 15 employees. 

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations can include changes such as: 

  • Physical changes: installing a ramp or modifying the layout of a work space
  • Flexible work schedules: allowing part-time or modified work schedules
  • Job restructuring: restructuring or changing elements of the job
  • Changes to training and policy materials: creating a checklist for an employee for an employee with an intellectual disability 
  • Parking accommodations: providing a reserved parking spot closer to an entrance
  • Adjustments to equipment or software: For example, providing software that enlarges the computer screen.
  • Service animals: adjusting a “no-animals” policy to accommodate an employee’s service animal 
  • Alternate formats: such as giving instructions in writing instead of verbally for an employee who communicates better in a written format

This is not a comprehensive list and the Job Accommodations Network (JAN) is a resource for both employers and individuals on workplace accommodations.

Employers Denying Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Employers denying reasonable accommodation requests 

An employer can deny a request for an accommodation if the individual does not have a qualified disability or documentation of one, or if the request provides undue hardship.

If an employer denies a request for an accommodation, an employee can: 

  • Request reconsideration by the employer 
  • File a formal complaint with the EEOC or an ADA coordinator
  • Contact the Office of Disability or Office of Human Rights
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