Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, all employees have a right to reasonable accommodations to do their jobs. While this act empowers people with disabilities to be successful and even excel in the workplace, the term “reasonable accommodation” is vague. Simply put, a reasonable accommodation is a change or addition to a typical process that enables an employee to do their job, regardless of their diversability (diverse ability).
Types of Reasonable Accommodation
Reasonable accommodation is not a one-size-fits-all situation. What may work well for one Deaf person may not work at all for another. Your organization should work closely with the specific employee requesting a reasonable accommodation to find out what will help them the most since a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
A few types of reasonable accommodations that an employee with a diversability might request include:
- No-tech and low-tech – These are the simplest changes to make. They may simply include extra time to decompress after a meeting, a one-on-one conversation instead of a large group setting for trainings, or installing an accessible door handle on a bathroom.
- High-tech – More technological solutions might include screen readers for low-vision or blind employees or Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) technology for Deaf employees.
Creating Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Diversabilities
Discrimination of people with diversabilities often happens because organizations worry that accommodating them will create exorbitant expenses. The fact is that over half of reasonable accommodations cost less than $50 – and nearly 90% cost less than $1,000.
More than anything, creating an environment for people with diversabilities to work comfortably and efficiently takes time and creativity. By spending an extra $50 and taking an hour to sit down with your new employee, you could be establishing a lifelong relationship with a dedicated team member.
A few adjustments to consider making for your employees with diversabilities might include:
- Job restructuring of non-essential duties
- Bringing in a sign language interpreter for a Deaf employee
- Allowing a flexible work schedule and work from home time for employees who rely on public transportation or government programs
- Providing training resources in a variety of formats, including verbal and written
- Creating rest periods for people who require them
This is not a comprehensive list but a good starting place. The most important thing you can do to create reasonable accommodations is listen to your employees. They will tell you what they need. If you believe their request is going to cause your organization undue hardship, see if you can come to some kind of compromise that will work for both parties.
Help with Creating Reasonable Accommodations
If you have an employee that has requested a reasonable accommodation and you are wondering where to start or how to handle the situation, Applied Development can help. We will work with you and your employee to create a solution that works for both parties.
Additionally, we can collaborate with your team to put plans in place for the future, including a diversity and inclusion initiative. Give us a call today at 410.571.4016 or contact us on the website for more information.