Work accommodations

A work accommodation is considered any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a person with a disability to perform their job. An accommodation may be temporary or permanent. To receive accommodations, an employee must disclose their condition/impairment and request a work accommodation.

The Hennepin County work accommodation procedure complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Employees and supervisors can contact the Leave and Accommodation Management (LAM) office for assistance during any step of the process.

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What is reasonable accommodation

Both the Hennepin County Policy on Employment and Service Access for Persons with Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allow employees to receive consideration of changes in their jobs, work duties or work conditions due to serious medical conditions causing substantial limitations to major life activities. The law refers to these changes as reasonable accommodations. A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment, that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity.

Reasonable accommodations could include:

  • Making facilities readily accessible to and usable by a person with a disability
  • Restructuring a job by redistributing marginal job duties
  • Establishing part-time or modified work schedules
  • Obtaining or modifying equipment or devices
  • Transferring or reassigning a qualified employee to a vacant position
  • Providing readers and interpreters
  • Permitting the use of leave for necessary medical treatment

In some cases, your department may provide a needed change even if you would not be considered a "person with a disability" for ADA purposes.

How to request an accommodation

Step one: complete the accommodation request form and return to your supervisor

Accommodation request form 

Step two: discuss your request with your supervisor

Please note: The LAM office may ask you to provide a medical statement or sign a medical release.

Step three: your supervisor will determine if your accommodation is accepted or denied

If your accommodation request is accepted, you and your supervisor should create a plan for implementing the accommodation.

If your accommodation is denied and you would like to discuss it, please contact the LAM office.

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Accommodation process for the supervisor

Complete these steps when an employee makes a verbal request or submits a medical statement to you.

Step one: have the employee complete an accommodation request form or complete the accommodation request on their behalf. If the employee turns in a doctor's statement, forward it to the LAM office.

Note: the employee may be eligible for Family Medical Leave.

Remember that doctor's statements and any medical information shared with you by the employee must remain confidential.

Step two: meet with the employee within one week to discuss their request

Consider the following:

  1. Are the functional limitations imposed on the employee by the condition(s) disclosed?
  2. Does the condition affect the employee at work?
  3. Is it clear what accommodation the employee is requesting?

Review the essential jobs functions and determine how they may be affected by the functional limitation(s).

Work with the employee to determine their preferred accommodations. The employee's preference should be given first consideration, however the supervisor can select a different, but equally effective accommodation that is less expensive or easier to provide.

If needed, the LAM office may ask the employee to provide a medical statement or sign a medical release to gain additional information.

Step three: determine whether to accept or deny the employee's accommodation request

If accepted, you and the employee should create a plan for implementing the accommodation.

If rejected, consider whether there are other equally effective alternatives.

Compete the supervisor response form and return it to the LAM Office.

Supervisor response form

Step four: return completed forms to the LAM office

  • Employee accommodation request form
  • Doctor's statement (if provided)
  • Supervisor response form

Step five: return a copy of the completed forms to the employee

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