Q. What is a reasonable accommodation for workers and job applicants?
A. Generally, an employer is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation under the ADA only for an applicant's known or obvious disability. The ADA places the initial burden on the applicant to inform his potential employer of a need for an accommodation. The applicant should suggest the accommodation.
A reasonable accommodation must be examined on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it will be effective and whether it will constitute an undue hardship on the employer. An employers first step in providing an accommodation should be to discuss the request with the applicant.
Accommodations can range from moving an interview to a more accessible location, providing the position description in an alternate format, or providing a sign language interpreter. The goal is to provide the applicant the same opportunity to apply for and interview for the position as anyone else.
Q. Is an employer required to provide reasonable accommodation when I apply for a job?
A. Yes. Applicants are entitled to reasonable accommodation. For example, an employer may be required to provide a sign language interpreter during a job interview for an applicant who is deaf or hearing impaired, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship.
Q. Should I tell my employer that I have a disability?
A. If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that you have a disability. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation only qualified applicants with physical or mental disabilities which they are aware.
Q. Do I have to pay for a reasonable accommodation?
A. No. The ADA requires that the employer provide the accommodation unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. If the cost of providing the needed accommodation would cause an undue hardship, the applicant must be given the choice of providing the accommodation himself/herself or paying for the portion that causes the undue hardship.