For employees with certain disabilities, returning to work can be challenging. As a result, the law requires employers in Washington, D.C. to provide reasonable accommodation to workers who are not able to function normally in their previous jobs. If employees ask for accommodation, employers must do whatever they can to make sure they are still able to work.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reasonable accommodation is part of the Americans with Disability Act. This is available for qualified disabled workers as well as job applicants. These accommodations are modifications to some aspect of the job, whether it is when or how the employee does the job. An employer must make these changes for the employee unless he or she can prove doing so would result in severe economic hardship or the inability to operate.
The DC.gov Office of Disability Rights outlines some common types of accommodation that most companies should be able to provide, and they range from no- to high-tech. Some examples include:
- Modifications in time, support or creativity
- Changes of work space to accommodate physical disabilities
- Special and advanced software or other technology
A change may be as simple as switching a disabled employee’s shift with someone else’s, or it may be more complex such as installing voice-to-text software.
An employer must also grant flexible leave for reasons such as:
- Repair of assistive equipment or prosthesis
- Medical appointments that relate to disability
- Training of guide dog or other device that assists with ability to work
- Temporary hostile work environment conditions