UW Logo
University of Wisconsin


McB Home | How to Become a McBurney Client | McBurney Connect | Services | Staff | Complete Online Notetaking Form (via McBurney Connect) |

Featured Information

Connect with Us

McBurney Facebook page

Contact Us

702 W. Johnson Street, Suite 2104
Madison, WI 53715-1007

Main Office Numbers: 608-263-2741(voice)
608-225-7956 (text)
608-265-2998 (fax)

Email Us
Office Hours:
8:00 am - 4:30 pm, M-F

DoSL Intranet
McBurney Disability Resource Center

Reasonable Accommodations

When disclosing your disability to your employer, it is important to consider the accommodation(s) that you are requesting.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

As defined by the US Department of Justice, a reasonable accommodation is “any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.

When thinking about reasonable accommodations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recognizes three separate categories:

  • “Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires”
  • “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 a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position”
  • “Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities”

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

If you decide to disclose your disability and request a reasonable accommodation, it is important to present possible accommodations that could provide you with equal access. To do so, it will be vital to consider the different factors of your condition and its impact on your work. Some questions to ask yourself are as follows: What is the nature of my disability and how does it impact me?  What accommodations have I utilized in the past that have been helpful? Could this work environment impede on my ability to perform my job functions?

It can be daunting trying to come up with a reasonable accommodation on your own, so we have compiled some outside resources that discuss possible accommodations based on disability type:

  • Accommodation Information by Disability: A to Z – This will bring you to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) site which contains a list of disabilities in alphabetical order. The links to these disabilities then provide overview information on the impairment, as well as accommodation ideas for that specific disability.
  • Negotiating and Requesting Job Accommodations Under the ADA – This link will also bring you to JAN and provides information on how to request accommodations, what you should reveal about your condition when requesting accommodations, and many other resources covering different aspects of the accommodation process.
  • Reasonable Accommodations - This Word document was created by the McBurney Center to give a concise overview of reasonable accommodations and the ADA. It also contains a sample Accommodation Request Letter adapted from the Job Accommodation Network as well as a graph outlining common accommodations based on disability type.
  • Job Accommodations for People with Learning Disabilities – LD Online created this article that discusses some typical job problems which cause difficulty for people with learning disabilities. These scenarios are then followed by possibilities for reasonable accommodations.

Can an Accommodation Request be Denied?

Yes, an accommodation request can be denied, but only in certain situations such as if:

  • An accommodation would eliminate an essential function of a job
  • An accommodation is considered a personal use item that would be used outside of work (prosthetics, wheelchair, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or similar devices)
  • An accommodation seeks to lower production standards
  • An accommodation creates undue hardship

Undue hardship is defined as significant difficulty or expense and focuses on the resources and circumstances of the particular employer in relation to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation. This includes financial difficulty and accommodations that are unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or those that would change the nature of operations of an employer.

If you feel you have been unfairly denied an accommodation request, it will be important to familiarize yourself with the discrimination process.

Further Resources

File last updated: April 13, 2017. 09:08:42 am
Feedback, questions or accessibility issues : email McBurney Center web team
Copyright © 2004 - 2018. The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
| Valid XHTML 1.0! | Valid CSS! | Level Triple-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0