The Importance of Accommodating Employees with Disabilities


By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services

Employers are often faced with the challenge of accommodating an employee with a disability, whether it be permanent or temporary.  “Challenge” meaning that many employers don’t know how to accommodate an employee, where to start and when the accommodation is no longer reasonable for the employer.  There is both moral and legal perspective to accommodations. 

Accommodating employees with disabilities promotes workforce diversity, ensuring varied perspectives, skills, and experiences. When individuals with disabilities are given equal opportunities and support, they bring unique problem-solving abilities, creativity, and resilience to the workplace. Accommodating employees with disabilities demonstrates a commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive work environment. When employees feel valued and respected, their engagement and job satisfaction increase significantly. Accommodations such as assistive technologies, flexible work arrangements, and accessible facilities empower individuals with disabilities to perform their tasks effectively. Accommodating employees with disabilities also fosters loyalty and increases retention rates, as it sends a powerful message that everyone is welcome and has the opportunity to succeed.

Beyond the moral imperative, accommodating employees with disabilities is often legally required. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandate employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Employers must engage in the interactive process when exploring accommodations.  As mentioned above, “assistive technologies” is often the easier of accommodation requests to fulfill.  Time off as an accommodation or changes to work schedules are where employers tend to struggle, but the process is the same.  Employers should be willing to explore different options even if they have never been done before or are “against company policy”.  Failure to comply with these legal obligations can result in costly litigation and damage to a company’s reputation.

By embracing inclusivity and making reasonable accommodations, organizations can tap into the unique talents, perspectives, and contributions of individuals with disabilities. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce fosters innovation, enhances employee engagement and retention, and strengthens the company’s brand image.

If you are struggling with an accommodation request or engaging in the interactive process, SDEA is here with you!  Remember, we are part of your team.  Call us at 858-505-0024.

Contact us: 858.505.0024