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The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor. JAN has two main focuses, identifying job accommodations and providing technical assistance on the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While not a job placement service, JAN receives questions from people with disabilities looking for work.
This tool, Finding a Job that is Right for You: A Practical Approach to Looking for a Job as a Person with a Disability, provides a four-step process for conducting a successful job search. Within the online tool, users will find information about the current job market; templates for identifying your skills, abilities, and knowledge related to the job you are seeking; information about building a resume and interviewing; and a list of programs and job banks that can help an individual with a disability to find that perfect job.”
Situations and Solutions:
The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.
A job applicant for a customer service position in a call center was determined to be unqualified due to her inability to communicate with customers through the use of a telephone.
Her fear of hearing, seeing, touching, or talking on the telephone prohibited her from being able to complete the essential functions of the job – assisting callers with inquiries about the employer’s services through the use of a telephone.
An applicant for an administrative position only had the use of one hand.
The employer requires all employees to be able to type at a certain speed or higher. The applicant states that she is unable to meet this speed with a traditional keyboard, but can with a keyboard designed for one hand use. The employer purchased a one-handed keyboard as an accommodation.
An applicant has compromised immune system function due to their diagnosis of sickle cell anemia.
The applicant is applying to work in a position that requires a great deal of communication with co-workers, which is normally done in person. The employer agrees to provide the individual with protective masks and sanitization products when in-person communication is required, while also allowing the individual to communicate with their co-workers electronically when possible to further reduce exposure if they are hired as an accommodation.
Jude, an applicant with a depression and anxiety, is applying for a customer service position that requires a pre-employment test.
Due to medication that Jude takes for both conditions, his processing speed is a bit slower. He feels he can only do his best on the test if he has the accommodations of extended time as well as taking the test in a private location to help limit distractions. In order for the employer to even consider those accommodations, the employee will need to disclose the mental health impairments and be prepared to provide medical documentation.
An applicant, who has had both of her arms amputated, is applying to work in an accounting position.
The applicant mentioned that in a previous position, her employer allowed her to use speech recognition software and a head tracking camera mouse to access her workstation computer. The employer reviewed these options and decided to provide them should the applicant be selected for the position.
An applicant mentioned that she had a sensitivity to heat due to Graves’ disease.
The employer agreed to provide the employee with an office with a window. This would enable her to use a window air conditioning unit as an accommodation.
An applicant, who had both of his legs amputated, uses a wheelchair to help him ambulate.
The office building that he will be reporting to work in does not have an elevator and if he gets the position his workstation will be located on the third floor. As an accommodation, the employer agrees to allow the individual to work in an office on the first floor should he be selected for the position.
An applicant with hyperthyroidism disclosed that she has difficulty sleeping because of her condition and may have problems making it into work punctually.
The employer agrees to allow the individual to have some flexibility in their start time and make up the time at the end of their shift to accommodate this need.
An applicant with vertigo is required to take a pre-employment screening test to be considered for the position.
The test is normally performed on a computer, but the applicant states that prolonged computer use causes her vertigo to flare up. To accommodate this need, the employer allowed the individual to take a written version of the test instead.
A university had offered a nursing instructor position to an applicant with ALS who used a wheelchair.
The university called JAN to better understand what modifications they needed to make to the physical work-site and learn what products could be used for the new hire. JAN suggested automatic door openers, a height adjustable table to teach from, and explained parking as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
An applicant with hypothyroidism stated that his condition causes him to take longer than most people when using the restroom due to constipation.
The employer agreed to move the workstation to be close to the restroom and also arranged to allow a modified break schedule to accommodate these lengthier restroom needs.
An applicant who uses a walker states that she would have trouble using stairs due to limitations from spina bifida.
The individual’s workstation would normally be located on the third floor. The employer agrees to place the individual’s workstation on the first floor if she is hired as an accommodation.
An applicant with blepharospasm raised concerns about the on-the-job driving duties required for the position.
The employer arranged for another employee to perform the driving duties as an accommodation. The employer felt this was a marginal function because the employee rarely traveled alone due to the nature of the job.
An applicant with autism spectrum disorder applied for a research position with a chemical company.
He has a verbal communication deficit, though can communicate through handwriting and by e-mail. The employer wanted to provide accommodations during the first stage interview, which involved answering questions from a three-person search committee. JAN suggested providing the questions in advance and allowing the applicant to furnish written responses during the interview.
An applicant was unable to complete a pre-employment typing test because the testing software did not work with his assistive technology.
The employer offered a reader, but the applicant was concerned that this would not reflect his true ability, since the reader could not match the speed and consistency of a screen reader. The applicant’s vocational rehabilitation was able to provide a proctored test of his typing ability using an accessible typing program.
An applicant lets his prospective employer know that he uses public transportation to get around as he cannot drive.
The individual discloses that he has spina bifida. The employer agrees to allow the individual to have flexibility in his schedule if he is hired so that the individual can work around the public transportation schedule.
An applicant for a teaching position had Charcot-Marie-Tooth and stated that she has difficulty walking and uses a wheelchair to help ambulate.
This position requires crossing campus to different buildings to teach classes. The employer offered the applicant an adjusted schedule to allow her additional time to get to the classrooms.
An applicant for a truck driver position only has the use of one hand.
The employer agrees to allow the applicant to drive an automatic transmission truck and also outfit that truck with steering grips as an accommodation.
An applicant disclosed that she has cataplexy and mentioned concerns with the on-the-job travel duties required for the position.
Occasional travel via rental car is listed as a function of the job to attend conferences. The employer agrees to arrange for transportation via bus instead of rental car if the applicant is selected for the position.
A little person interviewed for a cashier position at a retail store.
The employer asked her to demonstrate how she would operate the cash register and ring out material goods. The applicant explained that with the use of a simple work platform she would be able to reach everything she needed in order to perform the job successfully.
An applicant for a cashier position has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair for mobility.
The employer agrees to make adjustments to one of the cashier stations to be wheelchair accessible should the individual be hired for the position.
An applicant disclosed that she has Graves’ disease and mentioned trouble with writing due to persistent hand shaking.
The employer agreed to provide weighted pens to limit the effects of the hand shaking if the applicant is selected for the position.
An applicant for a server position at a restaurant disclosed that he has albinism.
He requested to be permitted to deviate from the dress code to wear long sleeve shirts at work due to the ease of which the applicant gets sunburns. The employer agreed that the long sleeves would be acceptable so long as they followed similar color schemes as the normal dress code.
An applicant for a restaurant server position disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth and needs to wear a specific type of shoe.
The employer allows the applicant to deviate from the dress code if he is selected for the position. He can wear shoes of the type needed so long as they follow similar color schemes as the normal dress code policy.
An applicant for a data entry position has sickle cell anemia and discloses that it causes her to have episodes of considerable pain.
The employer agrees to make adjustments to her schedule to allow for flexibility when needed as well as provide some intermittent leave time for more extreme episodes should the individual be hired for the position.
A prospective employer contacted an applicant to let her know that she had been selected to move on to the next stage of the application process which involved an interview by telephone.
The applicant disclosed that she was a person with stuttering and asked if it would be possible to do the interview face-to-face. The employer did not feel able to offer an in person interview, but offered the alternatives of an interview via video chat or via instant messaging.
An applicant for a data entry position has sarcoidosis and discloses that it causes her to have a painful sensitivity to light.
The employer agrees to make adjustments to her workspace by allowing the use of desk lamps and other lighting sources that afford a greater degree of individual control should the individual be hired for the position.
An applicant disclosed that she has cataplexy.
The employer is concerned with how to handle a situation should the applicant lose consciousness at work. The applicant and the employer sit down and create a plan of action so that if the applicant is chosen for the position, supervisors will know how to respond in the event this occurs.
An applicant disclosed that he has dopa-responsive dystonia and stated that this causes his ability to walk to degrade throughout the day.
The employer agreed to arrange the applicant’s schedule so that duties requiring extensive walking was done near the beginning of the shift and less physical duties were done near the end of the shift.
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