The Small Business at Work Toolkit

Tips, checklists, and resources to help managers lead a disability inclusive workforce.
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A group of office workers sit at computers in a modern open plan office.

Accommodations

A simple step-by-step process

A quick summary to take to a meeting or use on the fly

Do this

Leverage an accommodation strategy that can keep workers in their jobs and optimize job performance.

Not this

See accommodations narrowly—as just a requirement under the ADA.

Do this

Understand the basics of the ADA accommodations.

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Assume small businesses are exempt from providing reasonable accommodations.

Do this

Ensure that anyone with leadership responsibilities in your business knows how to recognize and respond to an accommodation request.

Not this

Let leaders figure out and pay for accommodation requests on their own.

Do this

Interact with the employee to find an accommodation that’s effective.

Not this

Keep the employee out of the loop during the accommodation process.

Do this

To find an effective accommodation, focus on the employee’s impairment, their job functions (tasks), and how a job function is impacted by the impairment.

Not this

Let a diagnosis alone drive the accommodation decision.

Do this

Collect medical information if this will help with understanding the nature of the disability, how it will impact the job, and what accommodation will be safe and effective. Keep this information private and separate from personnel files.

Not this

Collect medical information unrelated to the job or accommodation and fail to keep this information private.

Do this

Have a realistic understanding of what constitutes undue hardship.

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Assume that most accommodations would constitute undue hardship for small businesses.

Do this

Create clear job descriptions that identify essential versus marginal job functions.

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Treat all job functions as essential, making it difficult to determine a reasonable accommodation.

Do this

Understand what you’re not required to do when providing accommodations: remove essential job functions, compromise health or safety, reduce productivity standards, or tolerate the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in your workplace.

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Let incorrect assumptions guide your accommodation practices.

Do this

Create systematic practice steps to respond to individual requests for accommodations.

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Fail to implement a planned uniform framework for the process of finding accommodations.

Do this

Consider creating a designated, business-wide accommodation center. This should centralize funding and expertise, and make the accommodation process efficient and effective.

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Let each accommodation be a one-off.