Information by Thomas C. Weiss - Published: 2013-05-16

The concepts of Accommodation and Inclusion are difficult for some people to tell the difference between, as expressed by some of the people who are even close to those of us who experience forms of disabilities. When I asked a person I know what the difference was between these two things, they looked at me and said they really didn't get it. After all, wasn't accommodation of the needs of people who experience forms of disabilities including them? Let's begin with a description of what it means to accommodate people with disabilities.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified people with disabilities who are applicants or employees unless doing so would cause the employer, 'undue hardship (yikes - another article).' In general, accommodations are any changes in a work environment or the way things are customarily done that enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. There are three categories considered to be, 'reasonable accommodations':
  • Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enables qualified applicants with disabilities to be considered for positions they desire
  • Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employees with disabilities to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other, similarly situated employees without disabilities
  • Modifications or adjustments to the work environment or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed that enable qualified people with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position
The duty to provide reasonable accommodations is a fundamental statutory requirement due to the nature of discrimination people with disabilities face. While many people with disabilities may apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodations, there are workplace barriers that prevent others from performing jobs they could do with some form of accommodation. The barriers might be physical ones such as facilities or equipment that are not accessible, or may involve rules or procedures such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how essential or marginal functions are performed. Reasonable accommodations remove workplace barriers for people with disabilities.