Accommodation of a Worker

Definition - What does Accommodation of a Worker mean?

Accommodation of a worker is when an adjustment is made in job tasks or job assignments to allow for an individual worker's physical, or other, limitations. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that an individual job applicant or employee who cannot perform a job due to a disability be provided with reasonable accommodations if doing so would enable them to perform the job. The purpose of these accommodations is to allow these individuals to have equal access to employment and advancement on the job.

Accommodation of a worker may also be referred to as reasonable accommodation or simply accommodation.

WorkplaceTesting explains Accommodation of a Worker

Accommodation of a worker may take many different forms. In some cases, accommodation will involve improving accessibility by installing ramps or modifying the height of a desk. In other cases, an employee may require the use of adaptive technologies such as talk-to-text software or an enlarged video screen. Adjustment to work schedules or providing extra rest breaks are also examples of accommodations of a worker.

When determining whether accommodations are needed, employers may consider the physical demands description (PDD) of that job. This PDD outlines the minimum physical abilities needed to perform the essential tasks of the job. If an employee is unable to perform the physical tasks of a job, her or she may be assigned to a different job. Alternatively, the job itself may be modified to accommodate the abilities of the assigned employee.

A point of concern for companies is often determining what is a "reasonable" accommodation in the eyes of the government with regards to the ADA. According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance paper on ADA enforcement, reasonable can be though of as an accommodation that "appears to be feasible or plausible." Further, per that paper, employers are not required to eliminate fundamental parts of a job or reduce quality/quantity requirements as long as requirements are applied equally to all employees. However, there is still significant room for contrasting interpretations of the requirement in many cases.

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