Management's Workplace Lawyers

ADA – Reasonable Accommodation.

November 26, 2013

In an informal discussion letter addressing reasonable accommodations for hearing-impaired individuals, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed the issue of an employer’s rights when faced with the option of multiple possible accommodations. Where there is more than one available accommodation, the EEOC stated that, while the preferred accommodation of the employee or applicant “should be given primary consideration,” the employer may choose an easier or less expensive accommodation as long as it is effective.  The EEOC emphasized the importance of the interactive process in discussing possible accommodations with the employee or applicant, both for the initial selection of an accommodation and in re-assessing the situation if a change in accommodation is later requested by the employee.  According to the EEOC, effectiveness, and not the employee’s personal preference, is the relevant consideration in a reasonable accommodation process.