Not everyone can meet the qualifications for every job, so if you have the skills, education and experience to do the work, you should feel proud. Often these qualities come through hard work, dedication and paying your dues. This is why it can be frustrating when your disability prevents you from meeting your employment goals.
Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act forbids employers from discriminating against qualified applicants or employees simply because of a disability. If you would be able to complete the essential elements of a position with some reasonable modifications, the law requires your employer to make those modifications. However, it is not always easy to achieve the accommodations you need.
What are reasonable accommodations?
You have the right to the same opportunities as other qualified candidates who do not have disabilities, whether you are involved in a job search, job training, opportunities for promotion, or obtaining fair pay and benefits. You may simply need some changes to your responsibilities or work environment. Your job, your disability and other factors in your situation will all play a part in determining the kinds of modifications you may need, but here are some common examples an employer may consider:
- Providing equipment to assist with visual or hearing disabilities
- Reorganizing the workspace to allow for wheelchair mobility
- Restructuring certain non-essential elements of the job
- Offering the services of a reader or interpreter, for example during meetings
- Modifying your work schedule to allow for medical appointments, treatment or doctor recommended rest
- Adjusting the delivery method of training materials or exams
- Bending company policies, such as allowing a service dog in a pet-free business
If your disability is not visible, your employer may not realize you need accommodations. However, no employer may ask questions about your condition or require you to take a medical exam before hiring you. During an interview, a potential employer may ask if you are able to perform all the tasks the job requires with or without modifications.
If you have a disability for which you may need accommodations in the workplace, you should feel free to approach your Oregon employer with your request. Ideally, you and your employer might discuss the options available that will help you accomplish your tasks without creating a hardship for your boss and coworkers. Understanding your rights in the workplace is the first step to reaching your goal of receiving fair treatment.