In order to ensure that everyone receives equal opportunities in maintaining successful employment, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) puts forth legislation that offers guidance for restaurants and other businesses in providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
Employers often have questions surrounding whether an employee is “disabled” as defined by the ADA, whether the employee can perform the “essential functions” of the job with accommodation, and if such accommodation would subject the employer to “undue” hardship. While this law can be complex, I'll outline the basic premise of it below and provide an easy-to-follow checklist for employers to follow too.
Types of Accommodations
The ADA defines "reasonable accommodations" as "any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions" provided that such accommodation would not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Examples of reasonable accommodations may include:
- Time off for treatment or care related to the disability (FMLA may apply too);
- Modifying work schedules (i.e. shorter shifts, fewer days, etc.);
- Modifying the workspace or moving to a different space entirely;
- Altering how or when job duties and functions are performed (though generally not eliminating any job duties or functions);
- Hiring staff assistants or readers to support employees in their role and function;
- Providing accessible parking and restrooms; and
- Providing communications equipment and materials in alternative formats such as Braille and large print.
Reasonable Accommodations Checklist
Since the ADA reasonable accommodations legislation applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, it's an expansive law that affects many. To ensure compliance, follow this simple checklist: