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The type of reasonable accommodation required would depend on the job and its essential functions, the work environment and the person’s specific impairment.
Examples 09/26/09 Page A call centre consultant with a physical disability has difficulty typing with his/her hands at great speed. At minimal cost to the employer, the consultant is allowed to type with a mouth stick or use voice input/output depending on preference, both of which allow the consultant to fall within the acceptable typing speed range.
Examples 09/26/09 Page A radio broadcaster/announcer who is blind is required to read the news wire material. The employer purchased a high speed Braille printer that allowed the news wire material to be read by the announcer
Examples 09/26/09 Page An administrative assistant in a government department has a physical disability that causes difficulty with filing and carrying heavy reports on an occasional basis. Accommodation included reallocating these non-essential tasks to the other team members, while the employee concentrates on doing the essential job functions.
Examples 09/26/09 Page A bookkeeper who is deaf cannot speak on the telephone. At no cost to the employer, the bookkeeper’s colleagues were sensitized to the disability. The bookkeeper communicates via email, faxes or written messages with colleagues. Some colleagues have opted to learn basic Sign Language. On rare occasions, when required for client or staff meetings, an interpreter is retained on a consulting basis by the firm.
Examples 09/26/09 Page A control room operator has epilepsy. At no cost to the employer, colleagues are sensitized to the operator’s disability. Team members are trained on how to assist the operator during a seizure at an acceptable medical standard and arrangements are made to ensure that someone is always available when the need arises.
Examples 09/26/09 Page A highly skilled and competent call centre manager with a physical disability has difficulty opening doors around the premises. When the company was in a position to purchase and design their new offices, the call centre manager was consulted and care was taken to provide an accessible building with several features as an accommodative measure.
"Unjustifiable hardship’ is action that requires significant or considerable difficulty or expense. This involves considering, amongst other things, the effectiveness of the accommodation and the extent to which it would seriously disrupt the operation of the business."
Johan Kotze – Head of Group Insurance Old Mutual, in HR Future
Many employers mistakenly believe that such accommodation for persons with disabilities is expensive. In a recent American study of 778 employers, it was found that:
In 50.5% of cases, reasonable accommodation was done at no cost; In 42% of cases, there was an average once-off cost equal to 1.25% of the employee’s annual salary; and In 7.5% of the cases, there was an average annual cost equal to 1% of the employee’s annual salary.