What are Reasonable Accommodations?
Reasonable accommodation is defined as any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:
acquiring or modifying equipment or devices used in performing the essential functions of the job,
part-time or modified work schedules,
adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies,
providing readers and interpreters, and
making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
A reasonable accommodation can also include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, if the person becomes disabled or is unable to do the original job. However, there is no obligation to find a position for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought. Employers are not required to lower quality or quantity standards in order to make an accommodation, nor are they obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses, hearing aids, or personal assistance services. Employers are required to accommodate only a "known" disability of a qualified applicant or employees.
The requirement generally will be triggered by a request from an individual for a reasonable accommodation. Accommodations must be made on an individual basis, because the nature and extent of a disabling condition and the requirements of the job will vary in each case. If the individual does not request an accommodation, the employer is not obligated to provide one. If the individual requests but cannot suggest an appropriate accommodation, the employer and the individual should work together to identify one. Assistant with determining an appropriate accommodation from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS), the Job Accommodations Network (JAN) or another private rehabilitation organizations in the state.
It is a violation of the ADA to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Undue hardship means that an accommodation would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. Among the factors to be considered in determining whether an accommodation is an undue hardship are the cost of the accommodation, the employer's size, financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.
If a particular accommodation would be an undue hardship, you must try to identify another accommodation that will not pose such a hardship. If cost causes the undue hardship, you must also consider whether funding for an accommodation is available from an outside source, such as a vocational rehabilitation agency. You must also give the applicant or employee with a disability the opportunity to provide the accommodation or pay for the portion of the accommodation that constitutes an undue hardship.