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Not all workplace accommodations can be made

by The NonProfit Times - March 15, 2013

As entities that aim to make the world a better place, nonprofits are often at the forefront of efforts to provide accommodation to employees who are in some way disabled.

And then again, often they are not. Either way, federal and state laws provide many protections for employees needing accommodation.

In “The Big Book of HR,” authors Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem noted that employers do have some protection from undue hardship in providing accommodation. They caution that requests cannot simply be ignored or refused without consideration. They suggest the following process for requests for accommodation:

  • Consider and document all requests. The responsibility applies to applicants and employees alike.
  • Each request should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Evaluate all available options. This includes: Evaluate the job’s functions against the individual’s qualifications during the selection process; identify barriers to job performance; consult with the individual to find specific abilities and limitations relative to the job’s functions; determine if several accommodations are appropriate and determine the effectiveness, cost and impact on the job environment and, consider the individual’s preference;
  • Document the possible accommodations considered and resources consulted; and,
  • Document the interactive steps – discussions with the individual.

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