What is a “Reasonable Accommodation”?

A “reasonable accommodation” is any kind of change or adjustment to a job or workplace that makes it possible for a person with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job that does not impose an undue hardship on the business. Whether an accommodation is considered a hardship depends on the business size, financial resources, nature of operation and other factors.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (adata.org) and the Washington State law (www.hum.wa.gov/faq/faqdisibility2.html ), a person with a disability that interferes with one or more major life functions is protected against discrimination in employment IF the person can do the “essential functions of the job,” with or without “reasonable accommodations.”

A “reasonable accommodation” may include modifications to the job, such as changes in the schedule, minor changes in activity, use of assistive technologies that allow the burn survivor to perform the job AND do not impose an undue hardship on the employer.  “Undue hardship” is not well defined, but generally the expectation is that larger employers can provide higher levels of accommodation without experiencing hardship.

A vocational counselor or your regional ADA center can help you determine what workplace accommodations would be reasonable for you to request.