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Reasonable Job Accommodations

What is a reasonable job accommodation?
Reasonable accommodations are modifications to a job or work environment that enable an employee with a disability to successfully perform the essential job functions of the position.

Are employers required to provide reasonable accommodations?
Yes. An employer must provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified applicant with a disability. However, an employer is not required to do this if the accommodation is considered too expensive or difficult to implement. Alternatives may be considered instead.

What do I have to tell my employer if I need an accommodation?
In order to get accommodations, you must disclose your disability to someone who represents the company. A supervisor or Human Resources is usually the best route. You are not required to share every detail about your disability, but you will need to share enough information to show you do indeed have one.

Is it ever a good idea to disclose that I have a disability*?
Disclosure can be a very personal decision and one that should be weighed carefully. When making this type of decision, here are some factors to consider:

  • Need for accommodation to perform the job
  • Need for accommodation to avoid discipline or termination
  • Need for accommodation to protect health
  • Can you get the accommodation without disclosing your disability
  • Risk of stigma and harassment
  • Risk of loss of promotion
  • Risk of loss of privacy
  • Potential for more successful and supportive employment experience

(*Contact your WorkAbility IV Counselor for further assistance on how to navigate this decision.)

Do I have to release my medical or psychiatric records to obtain accommodations?
No. The documentation should be limited to a doctor’s note or other medical documentation that stipulates you have a disability and need accommodation. The doctor should not stipulate what accommodations should be provided.

Am I required to disclose my disability to my coworkers?
No. You have the right to not disclose your disability to anyone at work, if you choose.

What are some kinds of accommodations I could request?
Accommodations will vary depending on your needs and should be an interactive process with the employer. For ideas and suggestions, check out the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at askjan.org.

What happens after I request an accommodation?
Your employer is required to make a reasonable effort to determine the appropriate accommodation. However, you must also be willing to participate in the process of developing and implementing the accommodation. Please also be aware that fulfilling accommodation requests can take a long time, depending on the request.

Where can I get more information?
For more in depth and detailed information about your rights in the workplace and accommodations ideas, you can visit the Job Accommodation Network (askjan.org), The Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center (http://www.laselc.org/factsheets.html), or make an appointment to speak with your WorkAbility IV Counselor.

This document is intended to provide general information regarding legal rights to employment accommodations in California. Do not rely solely on this information without consulting an appropriate agency about your rights in a particular situation. The information from this form was taken from the The Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center website.