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How To Determine What Is A Reasonable Accommodation For My Job

Is The Accommodation You Seek Reasonable?

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The key to determining whether an accommodation is "reasonable" is whether it would impose an "undue hardship" on your employer. "Undue hardship" is not a concept set in stone. It depends on your particular employer and the particular site at which you work. It takes into account:

  • The nature and cost of the accommodation.
  • In relation to the size, resources, nature and structure of your employer's operation.

For example, if steps are a problem for you and you work at a site with 5,000 other employees, General Motors may be required to put in an elevator. On the other hand, a small employer may not even be required to put in a ramp if it would be too expensive relative to cost and the size of their business. It may even be an undue hardship for General Motors to put in an elevator if you work in a small branch office of four employees on the second floor of a two story building.

Letting you come in an hour late every morning may cost an amount equal to your compensation (salary + benefits) for five hours, but it would only involve some minimal administrative cost if you stayed an hour later each night.

If you have a question about whether the accommodation you want is "reasonable" (or to put it another way, not an "undue hardship" on your employer), call Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at 800.526.7234. JAN was set up by the government to help employers, but it also helps employees as well. Their advice is free. For more information on JAN, see offsite link

As mentioned above, even if all the accommodations you think of seem unreasonable, it may still be worth discussing the situation with the Human Resources department or your boss if that's appropriate. There may be an idea you haven't thought of.

To learn how to negotiate for an accommodation, click here.

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Negotiating An Accommodation

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