Job Supports and Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is any kind of change or adjustment to the hiring process, job functions, or work environment that makes it possible for a qualified jobseeker or employee with a disability to have equal access to employment and enjoy the same benefits of employment as their peers without disabilities.

When Do You Have the Legal Right to an Accommodation?

To have the right to an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must:

  • Work for an employer with 15 or more employees (or a state or local government),
  • Be a person with a disability as defined in the ADA, and
  • Need the accommodation because of your disability.

If you meet these conditions, the ADA gives you the right to reasonable accommodations. However, you also have the responsibility as an employee to take the initiative to ask for an accommodation. If you do not request an accommodation and your job performance suffers, your employer has the right to fire you from your job or take disciplinary action.

While you have the right to get accommodations, you don’t necessarily have a right to get the particular accommodation you ask for. If there are other accommodations that will meet your needs, your employer is free to choose among effective accommodation options. Also, your employer can deny your request for an accommodation if giving it would cause the employer an undue hardship.

If you do not meet all of these conditions, you can still try to request an accommodation. For example, if you think that you do not meet the ADA's definition of disability, you may want to discuss your need for an accommodation with your employer anyway; your employer may still offer to work with you to find an accommodation, even if the ADA doesn’t require it.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
  • Making the workspace accessible by ensuring that there is a ramp or elevators
  • Restructuring large assignments by dividing them into smaller tasks
  • Modifying work schedules by allowing for longer breaks
  • Providing qualified interpreters to facilitate communication with deaf employees
  • Offering an adjustable desk that allows an employee to either stand or sit while working

The following are not considered forms of reasonable accommodation and therefore are not required under the ADA:

  • Removing or eliminating an essential function from a job
  • Lowering production standards
  • Offering items, such as a prosthetic limb, a wheelchair, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or similar devices, if they are also needed for personal use off the job

Learn more