A foundational task for any HR department is to ensure that there is reasonable accommodation available within the organization. The ADA National Network defines a reasonable accommodation as “any change to the application or hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, or the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations are considered ‘reasonable’ if they do not create an undue hardship or a direct threat.” In order to stay on top of this, let’s cover how HR can streamline a reasonable accommodation process that truly prioritizes the employees.
While lots of situations where accommodation may be necessary vary on a case-by-case basis, it’s a good idea to have your general policies for accommodation written down and easily accessible. Put together a document detailing the most commonly required accommodations and how your organization responds to them. These can include accessible parking, adjustments with equipment, and service animals! Also note on the document that you understand that not every case is the same, and individual attention and adjustments will be sorted out as needed.
It’s important to make sure that your job descriptions and specified job functions are presented in a non-discriminatory fashion. Part of reasonable accommodation is the ability to adjust job functions as needed by perfectly qualified candidates. If any non-essential job functions are no longer feasible, try substituting them out with other tasks for your team member. It may be wise to place notices on which job functions are essential, which aren’t, and which may require physical labor in the initial job description so that applicants have a solid idea of the position’s flexibility.
Anyone within your organization that holds a leadership position needs to be well-versed in how reasonable accommodations can be implemented. First and foremost, they need to be able to identify their team members’ needs and know how to appropriately react to them. This involves training your managers on what common reasonable accommodation processes look like for your company, how to identify certain needs, as well as the administrative side of it, including how to start documentation, what compliance looks like in your state, and how to handle sensitive information with privacy and care.
In order to keep track of your reasonable accommodation process, you can use a checklist to make sure no details are overlooked. With GoCo, you can have a workflow that streamlines this checklist into an automated process, therefore eliminating any tedious administration work. You can create a standardized reasonable accommodation request/approval process directly within GoCo, which ensures ease of use, consistency, and compliance for all future reasonable accommodation cases!
Developing a solid process for reasonable accommodation is essentially a prerequisite for building an inclusive and welcoming company. Remember that the keys to getting this right are clarity and flexibility – fine-tuning your process, communicating it clearly and effectively, and understanding that each case where accommodation is necessary can/will require some degree of flexibility will set your organization up for success with any future cases of this nature!