There are strict laws in place to protect California individuals with disabilities. This extends to the workplace. If you have a disability, it’s important to know what qualifies you for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What are reasonable accommodations?
Reasonable accommodations are changes made to allow individuals with disability issues to have an environment that helps them to perform their jobs. Through the Americans with Disabilities Act, most employers are required to provide such accommodations to anyone who has a disability by providing them with certain equipment or tools that allow them to do their jobs to the fullest of their ability. Accommodations are considered reasonable when they don’t create a potential threat or hardship to the company. For example, a person with a visual impairment might need special speech software to dictate content to them from their computer if they are unable to see the screen if large print isn’t sufficient.
When is an employee considered as having a disability?
Disability issues can include a number of things per the ADA. An employee is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major activities in their life. Some disabilities are very obvious such as paralysis that requires a person to get around in a wheelchair. Other disabilities aren’t easily seen like a person with a hearing impairment. When a disability isn’t immediately obvious, the individual can get a note from a doctor that documents their disability and need for reasonable accommodations.
When are employers obligated to provide reasonable accommodations?
Per the ADA, all employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations in the event there are any with disability issues. There are also various local laws that make it mandatory to accommodate workers with disabilities if there are fewer employees working at any particular business.
There are various types of accommodations that may be required for individuals with disabilities. In addition to providing special software or equipment, employers may also have to provide certain services, reserved parking, ramps, modified job tasks and even flexible work schedules. There may also be a need to allow service animals into the office.