Understanding one's rights is the first step to protecting them. That is why individuals must understand the rights they have under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
However, the act covers a lot of ground. It prevents workplace discrimination based on someone's disability or medical condition. And it also gives employees the right to obtain reasonable accommodations in their workplace. But what exactly does that mean?
What are reasonable accommodations?
The ADA covers many kinds of accommodations that employers could make. These accommodations primarily cover:
- Increasing accessibility: Accessibility is the main goal of any enhancements under the ADA. This could include installing ramps for individuals in wheelchairs or adding reader software or Braille in the workplace for anyone with visual impairments.
- Modifying schedules: Many people with disabilities might need more time to rest during the workday. Or, they might have to attend treatment that overlaps with their work schedule. The ADA might require employers to adjust the work schedule to meet a worker’s individual needs.
- Adapting workplace policies: Employers can amend training materials or policies to make them easier to understand. Or, they might have to make an exception in the rules to allow service animals.
When are reasonable accommodations necessary?
This law almost always requires employers to make adjustments for employees with disabilities. The only time it is unnecessary is if it would cause the employer or business "undue hardship."
However, actual instances of undue hardship are incredibly rare. Most of these adaptations are free or inexpensive. And if they are not, employers can usually obtain a grant or other financial assistance, such as insurance, to pay for these amenities.
It is essential to know your rights
The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. It is critical to know that. But it is even more important for individuals to know how the law protects them. Employees with disabilities have a right to accommodations that meet their needs. And when individuals understand that, they can prevent any employer from denying them that right.