Office of Disability Rights

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Legal Requirements

The District of Columbia Government (the District) is required by federal and District laws to provide equal employment opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, seek to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities to ensure that our workforce is as diverse as our society. The District has a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations as required to facilitate the employment of qualified employees and applicants with disabilities. Beyond its legal obligations, the District is committed to providing accommodations that will allow its employees with disabilities to contribute at the highest levels.

Purpose of Reasonable Accommodation

The purpose of reasonable accommodation is to provide employment opportunities for persons with disabilities who otherwise would not be able to perform the essential functions of their job, and to allow employees with disabilities to perform or be more productive.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities accessible;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Change of work schedules or place of work;
  • Extended leave;
  • Telecommuting;
  • Reassignment to a vacant position;
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, including computer software and hardware;
  • Appropriate adjustments or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies; and
  • Provision of qualified readers and/or sign language interpreters and other similar accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations must be provided in a timely manner. The process of considering requests for accommodations and providing reasonable accommodations must always include an “interactive process” of mutual communication and consultation between the qualified individual with a disability and the District agency providing the accommodation. Accommodation decisions should be based primarily on whether they will help the applicant or employee be a successful and productive member of the District’s workforce.

Most accommodations cost little or nothing. The District is not required to provide an accommodation if it would cause an undue financial or administrative hardship in light of the overall financial and administrative resources available.

In addition, the District is not required to provide an accommodation if doing so would pose a direct threat to health or safety.