Nonprofit managers are often very attuned to disabilities and the talents disabled people can bring to the workforce. Unfortunately, that awareness does not always translate into easy provision of accommodations for those employees.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made a wide variety of material available on its Website, including an online resource for small businesses, the Small Business Resource Center (SBRC). The site offers the following advice about employee requests for disability accommodation:
- Understand who the law protects. The law protects applicants and employees with disabilities, including people who have disabilities that do not affect them all the time.
- Recognize requests for disability accommodation(s). An applicant or employee might need an adjustment or change in the application process or at work for a reason related to a medical condition.
- Consider the request. Don’t automatically refuse an accommodation request or have an inflexible policy.
- Review each request individually.
- Discuss the request with the applicant or employee, if needed or ask for additional information.
- Consider alternative accommodations.
- Consider additional requests. An employee might need another accommodation or a different accommodation later.
- Provide an effective accommodation, unless doing so requires significant difficulty or expense, changing fundamental job duties, lowering production or performance standards or tolerating misconduct.
- Ask for help, if needed. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) may be able to help. JAN provides free, confidential accommodation assistance.