Any employee with a disability has the right to request reasonable accommodation in connection with his or her job. Any applicant for employment also has the right to reasonable accommodation in conjunction with application procedures and accessibility issues. The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibit job discrimination based on disability and require an employer to reasonably accommodate the functional limitations of otherwise qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. A variety of physical or mental disabilities that "substantially limit a major life activity" are covered by these laws.
What is Reasonable Accommodation?
"Reasonable accommodation" means a modification to job site, job schedule, or job process that would enable a person with a disability to perform a given position. The reasonable accommodation requirement is broad, and different accommodations may be needed for different individuals, different disabilities, and different jobs. Examples of accommodations include provision of equipment, modified work schedules, physical modification of the work site, job restructuring (which means reassignment of non-essential job duties), and provision of readers or interpreters. An example of an accommodation for a job applicant is a sign language interpreter for a job interview. Employers are not required to provide accommodations when they would impose "undue hardship" on the operation of business. "Undue hardship" is a flexible concept that includes consideration of the number of people employed and the cost of the accommodation.
Making a Reasonable Accommodation Request
Although procedures differ among various employers, every Illinois employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation. If you need accommodation of some sort, it is your duty to request it. You can initiate a request with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator (note that not all employers have these positions), or personnel officer. The EEO Officer or ADA Coordinator or personnel officer should be able to explain the employer's procedure to you.
If You Have Been Discriminated Against
If you believe you have been discriminated against in regards to an accommodation request, you have the right to file a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (addresses below).
Department of Human Rights
222 S. College, Room 101
Springfield, IL. 62704
Department of Human Rights
100 W. Randolph, Suite 10-100
Chicago, IL. 60601
This information was provided as a public service by the Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities. The Committee can be reached through the Department of Human Rights at its Springfield address.