Examples of reasonable accommodation
Job restructuring is a process by which employees with disabilities are permitted to modify their job duties or work environment to better accommodate their needs.
Examples might include:
- Reallocating or redistributing job functions to minimize the impact of a disability
- Changing when or how that function is performed
Part-time or modified work schedules
Reasonable accommodation includes offering flexible working hours or modified work schedules to allow employees with disabilities to work without sacrificing their health or wellbeing.
This might include:
- Changes in start/finish times to allow for greater time taken for commuting to/from place of work
- Changes in schedule to allow for visits to medical/therapeutic practitioners
- Allowing for extra breaks as required
Acquiring or modifying equipment
Employees with disabilities may need to be provided with adaptive equipment or technology, or existing equipment may need to be modified to meet their needs.
- Acquiring telephone amplifiers that make conversation easier for people with hearing impairments
- Acquiring software for enlarging or converting print documents to spoken text for individuals with vision or reading disabilities
- Providing braille or raised print on equipment to assist people with visual impairments
- Providing telephone headsets for use by people with cerebral palsy or other manual disabilities
- Providing low-tech solutions such as modified stationery that makes it easier to write for those with disabilities such as cerebral palsy
There are also additional high-tech solutions such as electronic equipment that can be operated in alternative ways, for those who find hand movement challenging.
- Eye tracking technology that allows individuals to control a computer or other device with their eye movements alone
- Voice recognition software that allows individuals to control devices through voice commands
- Assistive robotics that can help individuals perform tasks that may be challenging due to limited hand movement
- Automation technologies that simplify the performance of repetitive tasks such as turning lights on or off
It may also be necessary to make other changes to the workplace to help employees with disabilities perform their work duties.
Examples of such changes include:
- Provision of ramps/wheelchair access, both external and internal
- Removal of obstacles within a workplace, such as furniture or floor coverings that impede wheelchair usage
In terms of modifying both equipment and environment, it is important to consult with the relevant employee or applicant, as they will typically be well-informed on new and available equipment.
Reassignment to a vacant position
Employers should also consider transferring an employee with a disability to a vacant position that better suits their needs. This should be done in consultation with the employee to ensure that such a move is both desirable and appropriate to their abilities and skills.
The reassignment to a vacant position is typically considered only after other forms of reasonable accommodation have been exhausted or have been determined to be ineffective.
It's important to note that the employer is not required to create a new position for the employee, nor to displace another employee to accommodate the individual with a disability. However, if there is a vacant position available for which the employee is qualified, the employer may be required to consider the employee for that position as a reasonable accommodation.
Providing qualified readers or interpreters
For people who are blind, have vision loss, or are deaf-blind, it might be necessary to provide interpreters or qualified readers. The provision of an interpreter ensures that individuals with hearing impairments are not excluded from participating in important conversations, meetings, or events due to a lack of accessibility. It also helps to promote inclusivity and equal opportunity by enabling individuals with disabilities to effectively communicate and access information.
A “qualified” reader means someone who is able to read effectively, accurately, and impartially, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.