Job Accommodations

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Job Accommodations and Support Resources


If a person you hire or a current employee should request a job accommodation, the following information and resources will hopefully help provide assistance and guidance you need!


Job Accommodation Basics

Where to Get Help, Advice, and Answers

Financing Job Accommodations

Where to Get More Information

Adaptive Devices and Assistive Technology Resources

Locating Sign Language Interpreters and Captioning Services

Locating Braille, Large Print, Audio, and Electronic Formatting
Services (Alternate Formats)

Sample Job Accommodations Made by Employers

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Job Accommodation Basics

Do you wonder what type of job accommodations employers provide and how the process works?  Do you wonder who qualifies for accommodations?  The following overview will highlight key accommodation basics.


Cost of Accommodation:   

According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the U.S.
Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy:

                    31% of accommodations reported to JAN cost nothing.
                    50% cost less than $50.00
                    69% cost less than $500.00
                    88% cost less than $1,000.00


Job accommodations are made for:

New employees;

Employees who are being promoted or transferred;

Employees who have acquired functional limitations 
as a result of a new or progressive disability.



An employee who requests a job accommodation is responsible for 
providing documentation of disability that includes information regarding the 
person's functional limitations related to the disability.

If requests for accommodation go through an EEO or ADA designated 
person at your company, the documentation should be provided or sent to 
that person.  Documentation needs to be kept confidential and separate 
from the employee's personnel file.


Determining a Job Accommodation:

To determine a job accommodation, the employer needs to:

Analyze the essential functions of the job.  (Hopefully this was previously
done when preparing the job description for the position).

Assess the person's functional limitations and potential obstacles
at the work site.

Consult with the employee in selecting and implementing a reasonable


Undue Hardship:

If the accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the business, the 
employer must offer the employee the option of paying the portion of the accommodation that would constitute an undue hardship -- after figuring in 
available tax credits and other possible funding assistance available to the 


Job Accommodations May Include:

Making workplace facilities accessible.

Examples:   Installing bar-levered door handles;
                     Providing accessible parking spaces;
                     Installing a curb cut or ramp;
                     Providing an accessible restroom.

Modifying the work schedule.

Examples:   Job-sharing;
                     Adjusting work hours;
                     Allowing time off for medical appointments;
                     Allowing rest periods that are made up during the work day.

Restructuring Nonessential Job Tasks.

Examples:   Having a co-worker retrieve files when needed;
                     Allowing conference calls instead of travel;
                     Allowing certain tasks to be done at a different 
                          time of the day;
                     Using a computer instead of writing by paper and pen.

Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices.

Examples:   Acquiring a talking calculator;
                     Providing a desk turntable:
                     Installing a TTY;
                     Providing a large button telephone;
                     Providing an ergonomic keyboard;
                     Adding braille labels on equipment used;
                     Raising a desk to accommodate a wheelchair.

Providing qualified support service assistants as needed.

Examples:   An interpreter;
                     A reader;
                     A notetaker;
                     A travel assistant.

Changing job locations.

Examples:   Telecommuting - allowing work to be done at home
                           part of the week;
                      Teleworking - hiring a person to work at home or in
                           a rehabilitation facility;
                      Changing to a company work location that is closer to 
                           home or accessible to public transportation.

Retraining and/or reassigning the employee to a vacant position
for which the person is qualified.

Examples:   A computer operator becomes injured and can no longer
                     use a keyboard.  The employee is retrained to enter data
                     on the computer using voice recognition software.

                    A truck driver is diagnosed with a progressive vision 
                    condition, and he can no longer drive.  A dispatcher position
                    has an opening, so he's reassigned and retrained as a

Note:  When an employee is reassigned to a vacant position, the salary 
and benefits of the new position apply to the reassigned employee as it
would to any employee changing positions in the business.

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Where to Get Help, Advice, and Answers

For free professional consulting services, guidance, and resource information regarding job accommodations and/or the ADA, contact:

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

1-800-526-7234 (Voice/TTY)

Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor's 
Office of Disability Employment Policy, is an international toll-free consulting 
service that provides guidance and information about job accommodations 
and where to locate vendors and resources needed.  JAN also offers a 
Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) to help you explore 
various accommodation options in a work setting.  

If you have any questions or need advice about accommodations or the ADA, 
call JAN.  JAN can help!

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Financing Job Accommodations

Financial assistance for job accommodations may be available from the following sources:


Tax Credits and Deductions

See the Tax Credits and Deduction Incentives section in this guide.

Agency Assistance

If the new or current employee is a client of the State Vocational Rehabilitation
Division, Commission for the Blind, or Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation
Services, the agency may be able to provide assistance.  Some nonprofit
organizations and companies that provide job placement assistance to 
clients may also assist the client and employer if possible.  Much depends on 
client needs and availability of resources. 

Vendor Discounting

Some vendors may offer a discount for equipment purchased by or for 
individuals with disabilities.  Be sure to check with the vendor.

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Where to Get More Information

The following web sites will provide you with additional information on job 
accommodations.  You'll find the information helpful!


Small Employers and Reasonable Accommodations (EEOC)

This web site includes information on:

Receiving requests for accommodation;

Types of reasonable accommodations;

Reasonable accommodation issues;

Undue hardship;

Limits on providing reasonable accommodations;

Resources for locating reasonable accommodations.

The ADA:  Your Responsibilities as an Employer  (EEOC)

This web site includes information on:

Who is covered;

What employment practices are covered;

Who is protected;

Determining essential functions;

Obligations to provide reasonable accommodations;

Best way to identify a reasonable accommodation;

Undue hardship;

Questions and answers.

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Adaptive Devices and Assistive Technology Resources

The following resources can assist you should you have questions, need guidance, or need to locate adaptive or assistive items.


Job Accommodation Network (JAN) - A Service of  the U.S. DOL Office of 
Disability Employment Policy


ABLEDATA - National Rehabilitation Information Center

ABLEDATA is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research.  ABLEDATA is a referral service that maintains 
a database of more than 17,000 adaptive devices from 2,000 companies.


Assistive Technology Index - Disability Resources

Disability Resources is a nonprofit organization that provides links to 
assistive technology resources, and resources for independent living.


Oregon Commission for the Blind - Technology Center

OCB's Technology Center can provide information and demonstrate assistive
technology used by individuals with vision impairments.


Microsoft Windows Accessibility Support

Microsoft offers product resources, assistive technology, step-by-step 
tutorials, and guides by disability.


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Locating Sign Language Interpreters and Captioning Services

Do you need an interpreter for an interview or meeting?  Are you looking for someone to provide real-time captioning?  Would you like to caption a company video?  The following resources can help!


To Locate an Interpreter:


Nationwide referral:          

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

RID is a national organization for interpreters.  RID's web site can direct you 
to interpreter referral services or contacts in your state.  Information about 
hiring and/or working with an interpreter is also available.  RID has individual 
state chapters that may be able to assist you as well.


In Oregon and Southwest Washington:

The following companies provide interpreter services.




Oregon Interpreting Services

(503) 997-6722   or   (503) 973-5534 (TTY)


P-S Squared, Inc.

(503) 236-3656   or   1-888-236-3656 (Voice/TTY)


Signing Resources and Interpreters 

1-877-512-2246   or   1-866-512-2446 (TTY)



Hands in Motion
(no web site)
(503) 949-2790   or   (503) 393-6334 (TTY)


Mid-Valley Interpreting Services
(no web site)
(503) 364-1063 (Voice/TTY)



Accessibility Northwest
(no web site)
(541) 334-0137   or   (541) 687-1221 (TTY)


For State Agencies:

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Program

(503) 378-2272 (Voice/TTY)

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Program provides 
interpreter referral services for Oregon's 12 state agencies only.  
However, if you are a private employer in Oregon and are in need 
of information, DHHAP may be able to provide information you need.


The following book may be of interest:

How to Use a Sign Language Interpreter:  A Guide For Businesses
by Tamara Moxham

Cost:  $7.95 (plus s/h)

Available from:     Butte Publications  (Hillsboro, Oregon)



To Locate Captioning Services:


LNS Captioning   (Portland)
(503) 299-6200 (Voice/TTY)

LNS Captioning offers realtime captioning, internet realtime, webcasting,
live event captioning, television broadcast captioning, offline captioning for 
video projects, and other captioning services.


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Locating Braille, Large Print, Audio, and Electronic Formatting
Services (Alternate Formats)


For producing company applications, forms, business cards, and documents in braille and alternate formats, contact:

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

A telephone call to the National Library Service is recommended for 
receiving information.  (Ask for Reference).  Their web site is primarily 
geared for library patrons with disabilities.

1-202-707-9275   or   1-800-424-8567


The following company provides services worldwide:

Braille Plus  (Salem, Oregon)


Braille Plus provides brailling, large print, audio tape, and electronic 
formatting of any book, publication, or document.  There is an hourly 
fee for preparing the master and reproduction fee. 


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Sample Job Accommodations 

Following are just a few examples of job accommodations implemented by employers who contacted the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) for ideas and assistance.  

For job accommodation assistance, contact:

Job Accommodation Network - A Service of the U.S. DOL Office of 
Disability Employment Policy
   -   1-800-526-7234 (Voice/TTY)


Sample Accommodations:


Situation:   A person had an eye disorder.  Glare on the computer screen 
                      caused fatigue.
Solution:    An antiglare screen was purchased ($39.00).

Situation:   A person with a learning disability worked in the mail room and 
                      had difficulty remembering which streets belonged to which zip codes.
Solution:    A rolodex card system was filed by street name alphabetically with
                      the zip code.  This helped him to increase his output ($150.00).

Situation:   A plant worker had difficulty using the telephone due to a hearing
                      impairment that required use of hearing aids.
Solution:    A telephone amplifier that worked in conjunction with his hearing
                      aids was purchased ($48.00).

Situation:   A large grocery store wants to hire an individual with Down syndrome
                      and a mild hearing loss as a bagger/stock person.  The concern was
                      that he would not be able to hear the paging loudspeaker system
                      that was used to call employees to different parts of the store for
                      work assignments.
Solution:    A personal paging device, which was worn on the wrist or belt and
                      which vibrated when activated by an incoming signal, was purchased
                      for the employee.  When signaled, the employee immediately went
                      to the office for specific instructions.  In this way, the employer could
                      be sure that the employee both heard and understood his assigned
                      tasks ($350.00).

Situation:   A clerk developed limited use of her hands and became unable to
                      reach across the desk to her files.
Solution:    A lazy susan file holder was provided so she could access the files
                      and keep her current job ($85.00).

Situation:   An insurance salesperson with cerebral palsy had difficulty taking
                      notes while talking on the telephone.
Solution:    Her employer purchased a headset for the phone ($49.95).

Situation:   A seamstress could not use ordinary scissors due to pain in her
Solution:    The business purchased a pair of spring-loaded ergonomically 
                      designed scissors ($18.00).

Situation:   A person applied for a job as a cook and was able to do
                      everything required except opening cans, due to the loss of a
Solution:    The employer called the Job Accommodation Network, was given
                      a list of one-handed can openers, and bought one ($35.00).

Situation:    A medical technician who was deaf could not hear the buzz of
                      a timer, which was necessary for specific laboratory tests.
Solution:    An indicator light was attached ($26.95).

Situation:   An individual with dyslexia who worked as a police officer spent
                      hours filling out forms at the end of each day.
Solution:    He was provided with a tape recorder.  A secretary typed out his
                      reports from dictation, while she typed the others from handwritten
                      copy.  This accommodation allowed him to keep his job ($69.00).

Situation:   A person who used a wheelchair could not use a desk because
                      it was too low, and his knees would not go under it.
Solution:    The desk was raised with wood blocks (scrap wood an individual
                      brought in from home), allowing a proper amount of space for the
                      wheelchair to fit under it ($0).

Situation:   A company wanted to hire a clerk who could not access the
                      vertical filing cabinets from her wheelchair.
Solution:    They moved the files into a lateral file and hired her ($450.00).

Situation:   A worker who uses a wheelchair in a plant that manufactures
                      electronic components needed to be "grounded."
Solution:    A "grounding foot strap" was attached to the person's foot and a
                     5-6" chain was attached to the foot strap.  The chain lands down
                     on the floor and serves as a ground.  The company made an extra
                     device should they have a visitor to the facility that uses a chair.
                     There was minimal cost for chain.

Situation:   A production worker with mental retardation, who has limited fine
                      motor dexterity, must use tweezers and a magnifying glass to
                      perform the job.  The worker had difficulty holding the tweezers.
Solution:    Giant tweezers were purchased ($5.00).

Situation:   An individual with a neck injury, who worked in a lab, had difficulty
                      bending his neck to use the microscope.
Solution:    A periscope was attached to the microscope ($2,400).

Situation:   A field geologist who was deaf and worked alone in remote areas
                      was unable to use two-way radio communication to report his
Solution:    Text telephone technology was used to allow the geologist to 
                      communicate using a cellular telephone.  Cost:  $400.00, plus
                      monthly service fee for the phone.

Situation:   A saw operator with a learning disability had difficulty measuring
                      to the fraction of an inch.
Solution:    The employee was provided with a wallet-sized card on which the
                      fractions were listed on an enlarged picture of an inch.  This 
                      allowed the employee to compare the card with the location on
                      the ruler to identify the correct fraction ($5.00).

Situation:   A catalog salesperson, who had a spinal cord injury, had problems
                     using the catalog due to difficulty with finger dexterity.
Solution:    The employer purchased a motorized catalog rack, controlled by
                      a single switch via the mouthstick, and provided an angled
                      computer keyboard stand for better accessibility ($1,500.00).

Situation:   A custodian with low vision was having difficulty seeing the carpeted
                      area he was vacuuming.
Solution:    A fluorescent lighting system was mounted on his industrial vacuum
                      cleaner ($240.00).


These examples provided by the Job Accommodation Network.

For additional information and assistance, contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) at 1-800-526-7234 (Voice/TTY).


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