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Accommodations and Retention

Learn about the role accommodations play in retaining employees with disabilities.

All employees need to be able to perform essential job functions at work to remain qualified for the job. Some employees may benefit from changes or adjustments to their work tasks and environment to be able to do their job effectively.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), these changes, called “reasonable accommodations,” must be provided to eligible employees with disabilities to ensure they can access the same benefits and privileges of employment as employees without disabilities. Ensuring employees can efficiently and easily receive reasonable accommodations contributes to an overall retention strategy by allowing employees to do their best on the job and succeed in the workplace.

Learn how reasonable accommodations help ensure the productivity of all employees by visiting the Job Accommodation Network's (JAN) website. JAN offers information about the interactive process for providing reasonable accommodations, examples of accommodations by type of disability and resources for employers, including federal agencies, state and local government agencies and private businesses. 

The Law

The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities at any point during the employment cycle. Once the candidate or employee informs the employer that a change to the work environment or tasks would be beneficial due to a disability, the employer must initiate the interactive process to provide the accommodation.

Technology and Accommodations

Technology use in the workplace is increasing. It is important to ensure your technology is accessible for employees with disabilities. To learn more about accessible technology in the workplace, review the Be Tech Savvy: Accessible Information and Communication Technology segment of the Inclusion@Work Framework. Websites are also an important piece of the overall accessibility picture.  Read the factsheet, 10 Tips for an Accessible Website developed by EARN and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) to learn more.

Inclusive Design

Unlike the reasonable accommodation process, which begins once an employee requests an accommodation from their employer, Inclusive Design is a set of principles that employers can proactively apply. For example, to ensure meetings are accessible for everyone, choosing meeting spaces that are physically accessible, offering Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services and sign language interpreters as standard practice, and sending meeting materials in an accessible format in advance. Another example would be creating online documents that are either directly accessible or compatible with assistive technology.

Inclusive design can be used by anyone and ensures full access for everyone. In the workplace, widen doorways that are essential for employees with mobility disabilities to access a building can also be helpful for someone carrying boxes or other large items. And documents that use a consistent heading architecture for people who utilize screen readers can be beneficial for anyone who wants to skim a document quickly. Incorporating products and features that are usable by everyone is a key part of creating an inclusive workplace culture.