Reasonable Workplace Accommodations

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change to an application process, work environment, or the way work is customarily performed that enables a disabled or pregnant employee to enjoy equal access. Personal items/devices (e.g., glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc.) are not considered reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are generally centrally funded through the DRC. The DRC does not pay the cost of temporary employees or other staff to perform the essential functions of an employee’s position when an employee is temporarily or permanently unable to do so, because this is not considered a reasonable accommodation.

When might an employee need a reasonable accommodation?

The following sample scenarios/statements could be requests for accommodation. If it is part of your department’s typical practice to approve certain types of requests (e.g., to work remotely, receive additional leave, or receive light duty), you may approve these types of requests without referring an employee to the DRC. Before denying such a request, the employee should be referred to the DRC for consultation.

  • “I have exhausted all of my FML, but my doctor has not released me to return to work. I need an additional month of leave.”
  • “My doctor has released me to return to work after my shoulder surgery, but I’m unable to lift 20 pounds for the next six weeks.”
  • “I recently started using hearing aids, but I am still having trouble hearing sometimes when I am using my office phone.”
  • “I’m having a hard time making it across campus for meetings because of my arthritis.”
  • “Because of some health issues, I’d like to be able to work from home once a week.”

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations