What is a reasonable accommodation? A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, work environment, or the way things usually are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability an equal employment opportunity. An equal employment opportunity means an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are available to an average similarly-situated employee without a disability. The ADA requires reasonable accommodation in three aspects of employment: 1) to ensure equal opportunity in the application process, 2) to enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job, and 3) to enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Reasonable accommodation is assistance or change to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable unless doing so would pose a SPECIFIC undue hardship.

What medical information can employers ask for when an employee requests accommodation? Under the ADA, employers must limit the scope of a medical inquiry in response to an accommodation request. When the disability or need for accommodation is not obvious, an employer may require that the employee provide medical documentation to establish that the employee has an ADA disability, to show that the employee needs the requested accommodation, and to help determine effective accommodation options.

How can and FCE(Functional Capacity Evaluation) help? It is the employer’s obligation to decide which accommodation would work best and whether the accommodation poses an undue hardship. When an employer has job-related reasons to require fitness examination of an existing employee, the employer should utilize the FCE process. The examination should be tailored to the injury that the employee sustained at the workplace ONLY and  NOT medical conditions unrelated to the work injury and should address the ability of the employee to perform essential job functions as well as outline any specific hardships.

For more information visit the Job Accommodation Networkfunded by a contract from the U.S. Department of Labor. 


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