Department of Human Resources

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA requires an employer to make changes in the workplace or in how a job is accomplished to help make it possible for a person with a disability to perform “essential job functions.” The changes, which are called accommodations, must be reasonable in nature. The employer can refuse an accommodation if the request imposes an undue hardship on the employer or poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace.

An accommodation need not be made if it is impractical, if it costs more than an equally effective alternative, if it requires renovation that will disrupt business, or if it causes unreasonable problems for other employees or customers. Undue hardship is decided on a case-by-case basis by the employer.

Like undue hardship, “essential job functions” are defined by the employer, on a job-by-job basis. The law says that essential job functions are tasks that are fundamental, not marginal.

The employer, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees cannot discriminate against people who are disabled and cannot make a contract that has the effect of discriminating against an employee with a disability.

To seek an accommodation at Oberlin College, an employee must make a request in writing using the Disability Accommodation Request form  and asking for specific assistance.

Read more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act .