The term reasonable accommodation is used somewhat differently in different laws:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Under the ADA, reasonable accommodation refers to the workplace. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that a reasonable accommodation is “In general, an accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.” A reasonable accommodation can be a physical change, a policy change, or a change in how an employee works. It can also be a piece of equipment given to an employee. A reasonable accommodation allows a person with a disability an equal opportunity to do a job and its functions, or to have an equal opportunity to apply for a position.
- Rehabilitation Act: The Rehabilitation Act covers federal employment as well as any agency or contractor receiving federal financial assistance. For example, most colleges and universities are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. A student with a disability may receive an adjustment in their academics—such as a sign language interpreter—that allows them to have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from education.
- Fair Housing Act (FHA): Under the FHA, a reasonable accommodation is a change in a housing provider’s policies to allow a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their residence. For example, a reasonable accommodation under the FHA could be an apartment complex allowing a resident to have an assistance animal even though pets are not permitted otherwise.
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