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Editor's Note: This model policy is based on federal laws that apply generally to private employers. Although federal law doesn't require employers to have written disability accommodation policies, having written disability accommodation policies can help employers communicate policies to employees, comply with nondiscrimination and accommodation requirements, and potentially limit employer liability. Employers in states that have additional accommodation requirements can use model policies that are specific to their state. Employers located in states that don't have additional accommodation requirements (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Nevada) can use this policy, but should check local requirements and review federal requirements. Employers can review a model Federal disability accommodation Policy Checklist.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION POLICY
[Employer] is committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. [Employer] complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and all other applicable federal, state, and local laws regarding disability discrimination and accommodation.
Comment: The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship (42 U.S.C. § 12101 to 12165). For information about employer coverage under the ADA, see 42 U.S.C. § 12111(5).
Reasonable accommodations are available for the known physical or mental limitations of qualified employees with disabilities. An employee is qualified if they can perform essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodation.
For purposes of this policy, a disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment of an employee's job or work environment that enables that employee to perform essential job functions or enjoy the same employment benefits and privileges as similarly situated employees without disabilities. Examples of reasonable accommodations include: modifying a workspace to make it wheelchair accessible, providing screen reading software, or adjusting an employee's work schedule to accommodate medical appointments. [Employer] does not provide accommodations of a personal nature, such as eyeglasses or hearing aids.
[Employer] is committed to providing accommodations so long as accommodations do not place an undue hardship on business operations or pose a threat to the health or safety of employees in the workplace.
[Employer] will actively engage in an interactive process with employees who request accommodations to determine what, if any, accommodation can be provided. [Employer] aims to process requests for accommodations in a prompt and efficient manner.
Employees can request accommodations by contacting their immediate supervisor or human resources. Employees can contact human resources by phone, by email, or in person.
Comment: Accommodation policies should include procedures that describe how employees can request accommodations. However, employees who don't follow the process can still be entitled to accommodations.
Employees who request accommodations will be asked to complete [Employer's] Disability Accommodation Request Form and have a physician complete [Employer's] Accommodation Medical Certification Form.
Once [Employer] receives accommodation documentation, [Employer] makes an initial determination about the employee's eligibility for accommodations. [Employer] can request additional medical information or have an employee's medical information reviewed by a medical expert to make this initial determination. In addition, [Employer] can ask employees to provide information about their educational qualifications and work experience if their reassignment to another position is considered as an accommodation.
If [Employer] finds that an employee is eligible for an accommodation, [Employer] notifies the employee's supervisor. [Employer] works with the employee's supervisor to examine the essential functions of the employee's job and find what, if any, accommodation can be provided. Determinations regarding accommodations are made jointly by [Employer] and the employee's supervisors. Such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis.
Comment: Employers are not required to eliminate essential job functions to accommodate an employee's disability (29 C.F.R. 1620.2(n)).
Employees who are denied accommodations are notified of the denial and the basis for the denial. Employees can appeal accommodation determination rulings.
Accommodations are reviewed annually. As part of the review, employees can be asked to provide updated medical information to demonstrate that the need for accommodations is ongoing.
Employees who have questions about the accommodation process should contact [Contact Person].
All information obtained by [Employer] concerning medical conditions or history of employees, including genetic information, is maintained in separate medical files and treated as confidential records that are disclosed only as permitted by law. HR representatives and supervisors who have knowledge of employees’ medical information are prohibited from sharing such information unless others need to be informed.
Retaliation for requesting an accommodation is prohibited.