Business Resources and Services from Disability Awareness Author / Speaker Gary Karp

Reasonable Accommodation

Scary Words for Many Business Leaders

"Accommodation," eh?

Sounds like money, doesn't it? Money flowing out. Extra costs. A hit to the bottom line?

Consider a different frame. "Reasonable Accommodation" is essentially no different than what an organization does for all its employees – provide the setting and tools that allow people to be at their best and make their contribution to the organization's goals.

But, the reaction goes, this is about disability so it's an extra expense, isn't it? And won't it be expensive!?

No, it won't be.

Consider this data from the Job Accommodation Network, a program of the U.S. Department of Labor. They provide services to employers and workers, and have very robust numbers.

Only 1% of Accommodations Cost More Than $5,000

50% of Accommodations Cost under $50 – or nothing at all
69% of Accommodations Cost under $500 – or nothing at all
88% of Accommodations Cost under $1,000 – or nothing at all

Accommodations that cost nothing might include optimal assignment of a work area, lowering or raising a desk surface, or flexible scheduling.

Many technologies, such as voice dictation, have come down dramatically in costs since their original introduction. Many workers with disabilities are already owners of adaptive technologies and will simply bring them along.

Learn more about Assistive Technologies.

  • Business managers reasonably fear regulation.A Little More
  • Do what you do for any employee.A Little More
  • Accommodations are becoming more commonplace.A Little More
  • The best employee is worth the investment.A Little More
  • Cheaper to keep an adaptable existing employee on the job.A Little More
  • Begin with the spirit of adaptation that Workplace Disability Culture is all about. When people feel a commitment to getting what they need to be their best, then they are more likely to return loyalty and great performance.

    A person with a disability who needs accommodation will certainly feel valued and recognized for what they can contribute to organization goals.


    The cost of accommodation often pales in comparison to disability benefit and management costs, or the costs of rehiring and training.
    A person who happens to have – or have acquired – a disability can be well worth the modest investment that most accommodations require.
    Ergonomic funiture and accessible features in system software are now widely in use, and system software all contain accessible features.
    Reasonable accommodation is no different than what you do for everyone – provide the tools, support, and setting for them to perform well.
    Reflexive resistance to regulation is not always the best business choice. It sometimes costs more to fight than it does to discover there could be benefits.