Reasonable Accommodations: Obstacles and Opportunities to the Employment of Persons with a Disability

November 2019

The provision of reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities is crucial in addressing the unique barriers - physical, organisational and attitudinal – that can be experienced in accessing, progressing in and retaining employment. This report was drafted as a response to ongoing concerns expressed by both persons with disabilities and employers about barriers to attaining and providing reasonable accommodations, and the lack of documented good practice in this area. This work was also undertaken in the context of Strategic Priority Six of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024, which seeks to advance employer engagement.

 

The overall purpose of this report is twofold.

  1. The report identifies the practical obstacles in the way of a seamless reasonable accommodation process from the perspective of employers, employees and potential employees
  2. The report highlights good practices as to how these obstacles can be addressed

 The two primary research strands comprised a literature review and a select review of Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court decisions relating to reasonable accommodation under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015. Bilateral and focus group consultations, including with persons with disabilities, were also undertaken to capture a broad range of views on the provision of reasonable accommodations in practice.

 The main barriers to a seamless reasonable accommodation identified through the literature review and consultations included issues around disclosure, lack of policies and procedures, failure to respond to requests for accommodations in a timely manner, low awareness regarding the whole area of reasonable accommodations and the type of supports currently available, and lack of follow-up regarding implemented accommodations.

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