Complying with the laws regarding disability discrimination remains one of the greatest challenges employers face. Lately, I’ve been discussing new California regulations on this topic (found in Title 2, Division 4, Chapter 2, Subchapter 9 of the California Code of Regulations). I’ve written about what gives rise to the obligation to engage in the interactive process and about what the interactive process requires.

The regulations also list the following examples of possible accommodations.

  • “[P]roviding accessible break rooms, restrooms, training rooms, or reserved parking places; acquiring or modifying furniture, equipment or devices; or making other similar adjustments.”
  • Allowing use of assistive animals. Note that we’re not just talking about seeing-eye dogs. The category includes everything from animals that provide emotional support to people with psychological problems to a miniature horse to pull a wheelchair
  • “Transferring an employee to a more accessible worksite.”

  • “Providing assistive aids and services such as qualified readers or interpreters to an applicant or employee.”

  • Job Restructuring (although the employer is not required to reassign essential job functions).

  • Part-time or modified work schedules.

  • Changing “when and/or how an essential function is performed.”

  • Adjusting or modifying “examinations, training materials or policies.”

  • Modifying policies or supervisory methods.

  • Providing additional training.

  • Letting the employee work from home.

  • Leaves of absence (although indefinite leaves are not required); and

  • Reassignment to a vacant position (although there is no need to create a position or disregard an established, bona fide seniority system).

Of course, what accommodations are appropriate for specific impairments will vary widely. But the list provides a useful checklist for employers who want to be sure they’re considering all the available options. Just as importantly, it can help employers document the steps they’ve taken.