Whether you have lived with a disability all your life or have recently suffered an accident or illness, you know your limitations and abilities. You also know well your qualifications for employment, including your education and experience. Nevertheless, your condition may make it difficult to perform on the job unless you have certain modifications to your workplace, your schedule or your tasks.
Fortunately, the need for these accommodations does not disqualify you from finding meaningful employment in your field. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from discrimination simply because of a disability.
What accommodations are not
An Ohio employer who complies with ADA rules will hire workers based on their qualifications and abilities. If you have training and experience on par with other candidates and can do the job with a few reasonable modifications, an employer should give you equal consideration for a position. However, some employers may resist making those accommodations or may not understand what counts as reasonable.
Workplace accommodations are not special treatment. In other words, any modifications that overburden your co-workers or create an unsafe environment may not be reasonable. You must be able to perform the essential duties of your job with reasonable modifications. Additionally, your employer may find some requests for accommodations cost-prohibitive, so you may have to negotiate for a compromise.
Examples of reasonable accommodations
Your employer may not ask about your disability but may ask what accommodations you will need to be successful in the position. Here is where you may begin discussing the possibilities. Ideally, you may want an elevator installed. More reasonably, you may request a ramp or a workspace that does not require the use of stairs. Other modifications that may be reasonable for an employer are not limited to these:
- Rearranging the workspace to make room for a wheelchair
- Purchasing assistive technologies if you are visually or auditorily impaired
- Making meetings and company materials accessible with sign language interpretation or Braille
- Modifying workplace policies to allow service animals
- Adjusting schedules so you can work from home or keep medical appointments
Your condition may require other considerations, and your employer must be willing to hear your concerns and work with you. There are resources available to help employers make their workplaces welcoming and inclusive. However, if your employer refuses to make reasonable modifications so that you can be successful at work, you may need to access some resources of your own to assist you in protecting your rights.