Reasonable Accommodations and Title 1 of the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Reasonable Accommodations, and Undue Hardship for the Workplace


Author:  Cassandra Lattin, COO

Title 1 of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship.

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations (e.g. removal of an essential job function or personal use items such as a hearing aid that is needed on and off the job), reasonable accommodations can cover most things that enable an individual to apply for a job, perform a job, or have equal access to the workplace and employee benefits such as kitchens, parking lots, and office events.

The reasonableness of an accommodation depends on a lot of factors, and what is reasonable for one employer and situation may not be reasonable in another.

Five (5) common types of accommodations include:

  • Adjusting work schedules when possible
  • Shifting breaks and rest periods within the confines of the law
  • Modifying how job duties are performed while ensuring the needs of the company are met
  • Making changes in workplace policies while balancing the needs of the company
  • Providing assistive technology, including information technology and communications equipment or specially designed furniture
Here are Five (5) common things to consider when evaluating undue hardship:
  • What is the financial and physical cost of the necessary accommodation
  • What are the company’s financial resources
  • How many employees do you have
  • How would the accommodation affect your resources
  • How does your company currently operate? Include the administrative and physical requirement of the accommodation


“When you start to think of what is a reasonable accommodation, and whether or not you can make the sacrifice, remember the word reasonable.”

“As a small business owner, ask yourself, how the employee would like to be treated. If it is within reason, and does not add a significant financial cost to your organization, make the accommodation. Happy employees, tend to be more productive employees.”


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PEOple OneSource is an innovative payroll, human resource, training, benefits administration, risk management, and business expansion service provider. Established in 2003, PEOple OneSource (PEO1) offers payroll or all-inclusive ASO, and PEO services that provide solutions for the multiple compliance challenges faced by small to medium sized businesses.


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