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Reasonable Accommodation (RA) - Employee

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Understand

The state of Washington is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to ensure equal employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This can be adjustments or changes to a job, work environment, policy, practice, or procedure.

You can make a reasonable accommodation (RA) request during the application process, after a job offer, or any time during employment. The request can come from yourself or by a representative (ex: spouse). Employer's may ask, but cannot require, you to submit the request in writing. DES HR may also send you a RA packet to you without you specifically requesting for RA. Since both State and Federal law require your employer to reasonably accommodate the known disabilities of employees, saying something such as "I have just been diagnosed with cancer" or "I broke my arm" will trigger the RA process. 

You should request RA when you feel that you have a physical, mental or sensory impairment(s) that is medically cognizable or diagnosable, and affects your ability to perform the essential functions of your position

There are many different forms of accommodations. Below are some basic types:

  • Job restructuring – eliminating marginal functions
  • Modified work schedule – part time or flexible hours
  • Modified workplace – installing a power door
  • Equipment – purchasing/modifying existing equipment
  • Reassignment – reassign to a vacant position if the employee is qualified and the position has similar pay and status

Your employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations that afford employees with disabilities an equal employment opportunity. If more than one equally effective accommodation is identified, your agency will provide the accommodation that is felt to best fit the needs of the employee and the work environment.

You are not required to accept the reasonable accommodation being offered to you. If you decline, the reasonable accommodation process will end and you will return to work in your current position and will be expected to perform the essential functions of your job, without reasonable accommodation.

If you request a reasonable accommodation you may be asked to provide the following information:

  • Verification that you have the disability claimed
  • Verification that the disability limits work
  • Description of the limitations of the disability
  • Anticipated duration of the need for the accommodation and
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of an accommodation

Medical documentation and information about the reasonable accommodation process will be maintained in a secure manner, apart from personnel files. Information about an employee's disability will only be shared on a need to know basis.

If you have any questions or want to request a reasonable accommodation, please reach out to your assigned HR Business Partner.