Disability and Reasonable Accommodations

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA is divided into five different sections, called Titles:

  • Title I – protects workers with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace;
  • Title II – prohibits disability discrimination by public entities, such as state and local governments, and public transportation;
  • Title III – prohibits disability discrimination by places of “public accommodation” and requires them to remove barriers to full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and facilities;
  • Title IV – requires telecommunications companies in the United States to make certain accommodations; and
  • Title V – contains miscellaneous and technical provisions.

To qualify under the ADA, an individual must have a disability. For example, disabilities can include:

  • Physical disabilities, such as blindness, deafness, and mobility issues;
  • Emotional or mental difficulties; and

There is no requirement that an employee has a formal diagnosis with a disability to receive a reasonable accommodation; however, the employee must either have a record of the impairment or be regarded has having such an impairment.

Likewise, in order for the ADA to require an employer to make reasonable accommodations, the employer must qualify as a place of “covered entity.” Covered entities are:

  • Private employers with 15 or more employees;
  • Employment agencies;
  • Labor organizations; and
  • State and local governments (under Title II).

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

There is no specific definition of “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA or Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Statute. However, the ADA does specify that reasonable accommodations can include:

  • Modifying facilities and workspaces;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Reassignment to another position;
  • Modified work schedules.