Who Qualifies as an Employee with a Disability?
An employee or an applicant with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Examples of major life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, mental and emotional processes such as thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities
- Job restructuring
- Modification of work schedule
- Providing additional unpaid leave
- Reassignment to a vacant position (last resort)
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices
- Adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies
- Providing qualified readers or interpreters
Think outside the box! If accommodation is possible by adjustment, then do so! Take advantage of the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP).
- Undue hardship is based on the net cost.
- Based on assessment of current circumstances that show that a specific reasonable accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense.
- Not based on fears or prejudices or that the accommodation might have a negative impact on the morale of other employees.
- Cannot claim an undue hardship because an individual can provide only an approximate date of return. (Get periodic updates.)
- Cannot claim hardship due to a collective bargaining agreement.
- Cannot be based on pure speculation.
Be Careful Not to
- Ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability.
- Ask if applicant has ever filed for workers' compensation insurance.
- Ask how many days an applicant was absent from work because of illness last year.
- Ask for medication documentation when:
- both the disability and the need for reasonable accommodation are obvious, or
- the individual has already provided sufficient information to substantiate the disability and needs the reasonable accommodation requested.