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Accommodations and Advancement

Learn about reasonable accommodations and how they can help employees advance in their careers.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities who request them, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. This requirement pertains to all phases of employment, including opportunities for advancement.

An employee’s accommodation needs may change as they age or their disability evolves over time, or as their job responsibilities grow as they advance in their career. In the context of advancement opportunities, accommodations can include ensuring that training opportunities are accessible to all employees, providing assistive technology to allow for learning or applying new skills, and periodically assessing the efficacy of current accommodations. 

The ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation for applicants and employees with disabilities, unless doing so would cause “undue hardship.” Visit EARN’s Reasonable Accommodations webpage to learn more about these requirements. 

Ensuring Productivity

One of the benefits of accommodations is increased employee productivity. The effectiveness of accommodations is tied not only to the person and their disability, but also to their job responsibilities and the environment in which they work. Too often, employers assume that the reasonable accommodation process only needs to happen one time, typically when the employee first discloses a disability. However, this “one-and-done” approach does not allow the employee to adapt to changes in their disability, their work environment or the responsibilities of their job. Make it a point to check in on the effectiveness of accommodations on a regular basis. If anything changes, invite the employee to consider additional accommodations that may increase their effectiveness at work. As productivity tools, accommodations help your organization as much as they help the employee.

Ensuring Accessibility 

Technology is increasingly used to facilitate work. To ensure access for employees with disabilities, make sure your technology is accessible; otherwise, employees with disabilities may be denied opportunities to advance in their careers. Ensure that all professional development opportunities offered by your organization, including virtual or in-person trainings and meetings and events, are fully accessible for employees with disabilities, too. To learn more about planning accessible virtual meetings and presentations, read the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology's (PEAT) Checklist for an Accessible Virtual Meeting & Presentation.

To learn more about how to ensure workplace technology is accessible for everyone, explore the Be Tech Savvy: Accessible Information and Communication Technology segment of the Inclusion@Work Framework. Your website is an important part of the accessibility picture. For more information, read the factsheet, 10 Tips for an Accessible Website, developed by EARN and PEAT.