What Accommodations Does Employer Have To Make Under ADA?

More than 60 million Americans are estimated to have some type of disability. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) offers vital protections for millions of these Americans with physical and mental impairments, but not every employer follows the requirements of the law. Learn about the required ADA accommodations below, then speak to our Chicago ADA attorneys for a case review.

What Is The Americans With Disabilities Act?

The ADA is a critical federal law that was passed in 1990 that defines what a disability is and requires certain kinds of protections for people with disabilities. The law has five key provisions:

  • Title I, Employment: This provision ensures those with disabilities enjoy the same rights to employment and benefits as other people. Employers with 15 or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for people who are disabled, including employees and job applicants. If there is a complaint, it must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within six months of the date of discrimination. The time limit is 300 days if it is filed through a state or local entity.
  • Title II, Public Services: Bans discrimination in government programs, including public housing, social services, and schools.
  • Title III, Public Accommodations: Outlaws discrimination in all private and public places, such as retail stores, restaurants, healthcare provider offices, private schools, daycare centers, hotels, and more.
  • Title IV, Telecommunications: Mandates that Internet and telephone companies offer services for people with speech and hearing disabilities. Closed captioning is also required for public service announcements funded by the federal government.
  • Title V, Miscellaneous: Includes other provisions to safeguard the rights of those with disabilities.

What Is A Disability Under The ADA?

The ADA defines what a disability is and what companies must do to accommodate them. ‘Disability’ under the law means a mental or physical impairment that limits the ability of a person to perform a major life activity. The law includes those with a record of impairment, even when they are not disabled.

This definition also includes those who have a limiting disability but might not be considered practically disabled. But you should know that being disabled according to the ADA differs from being disabled under other federal programs, such as Social Security.

Your Right To Reasonable Accommodation In Illinois

Any employee with a disability in Illinois can ask for reasonable accommodations related to their job. Also, an employment applicant has a right to reasonable accommodation related to their application and the company’s hiring process. Also, the Federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act outlaw job discrimination because of disability. Many mental and physical disabilities are covered under these laws.

According to the ADA, a ‘reasonable accommodation’ is a modification to a job process, schedule, or site that would allow a disabled person to perform their job. The requirement for reasonable accommodations is broad, and various modifications may be needed, based on the person, disability, and job. Some common types of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Adapting or modifying equipment
  • Changing work schedules
  • Changing job tasks
  • Modifying a bathroom for someone in a wheelchair
  • Offering an aid or service to improve access
  • Enhancing accessibility in a workplace
  • Changing how training materials and tests are presented
  • Offering reserved parking
  • Making physical modifications to a job site
  • Restructuring a job
  • Providing interpreters or readers

For instance, if you apply for a job and are deaf, a reasonable accommodation might be providing you with a sign language interpreter for the interview. However, employers do not have to provide accommodations if it would create an ‘undue hardship’ on the business. ‘Undue hardship’ is a broad term that considers the number of people who work at the company and what the accommodation would cost. Here are some more specific examples of reasonable accommodation:

  • A supervisor provides job review feedback in writing instead of verbally for the worker who communicates better in written form.
  • The company changes its ‘no animals allowed’ policy, so you can bring your service animal.
  • The company buys software that increases the legibility of the computer screen so you can see it with your limited eyesight.
  • A manager provides you with a checklist to ensure a task is completed if you have an intellectual disability.

How Do You Make A Reasonable Accommodation Request?

Procedures are different with different companies. But all employers in the state must provide reasonable accommodation when requested. If you are in a job and need accommodation, you are obligated to request it. If your employer has one, you can ask for accommodation with your ADA coordinator. If it does not, talk to your HR department about your need for reasonable accommodation.

What About Remote Work?

Working remotely or telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation for some disabled workers, especially those with physical limitations. Employees could request to work from home to complete their work duties if they have a sufficient Internet connection.

More companies allow remote work after the pandemic, but only some occupations work well remotely. There also are disabled workers who do not prefer to work at home, so it will not work for everyone. But you should have an open conversation with your employer about the accommodations you need, whether it is remote work or something else.

Does The ADA Apply To All Employers?

The ADA is applicable to employers with 15 or more workers. This includes private companies, state and local agencies, labor groups, and employment agencies.

Can An Employer Ask If I Have A Disability?

When you apply for a job, the company cannot ask if you are disabled. Nor can they ask about the degree of your disability. However, the company may ask if you can perform the job duties and whether you need a reasonable accommodation. The company also can ask how you will fulfill your job duties.

Contact Our Chicago ADA Lawyers Today

Most employers are required under the ADA to provide reasonable accommodations. If they do not, you should talk to an attorney today. Contact Our Chicago ADA attorneys at North Suburban Legal Services, we can help, so call (312) 909-6089. Our skilled disability attorneys will review the laws that apply to your situation and obtain justice for you.




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