An Employee’s Right to Assistive Technology

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Providing assistive technology for your employees with disabilities is not just accommodating, it’s the law. It is just one of the ways companies can create an inclusive work environment for their employees. This rule applies if you work from home or in the office. As an individual with a disability, it is your right to request assistive technology to help accomplish your work. 

Still not sure? Let us help you out by stating the facts. 

A laptop, computer mouse, a pair of air pods, a pair of reading glasses, and a pencil all sprawled out across a marble desk.

What is Assistive Technology?

Before we dive right in, let’s go through what assistive technology (AT) is. AT is defined as, “Any item that is used to increase functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

Simply put, AT is any device that helps an individual complete a task. For example, a person with low vision may use a software system that enlarges letters on their screen to read documents more easily. 

As an employee in need of AT, you can legally request reasonable accommodations to help you do just that. Utilizing your right, granted by the Americans with Disabilities Act, can guarantee a position or the ability to continue working at your job.

What Counts as Reasonable Accommodations?

If the device you are requesting proves to aid you in accomplishing your work, that counts as reasonable. However, an employer is NOT required to grant your request for two reasons:

  • If it brings the company financial burdens
  • Has nothing to do with assisting you in your specific duties

The employer may still offer you the option to provide your own accommodations. Don’t forget to reach out to your HR department too. Someone there can help you gather resources on affordable devices or programs that give financial aid to purchase your own. 

Examples of AT that are deemed reasonable by the ADA for employees to request and obtain include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Brailler
  • Ergonomic Keyboard 
  • Adaptive Switches 
  • Wheelchairs
  • Text-to-Speech software 
  • Accessible Documents like braille, large print, audio, and accessible PDF
  • and so much more! 

Related: Need to know if your documents are accessible? Get a free accessibility audit!

an office building with co-workers sitting at their desks

Exercise Your Right! 

Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act states that “employers are required to either acquire new accessible devices or modify existing ones so that an employee with disabilities can utilize them.”

A business can only go as far as what its employees can accomplish. Acting on your right to request assistive technology is a win-win situation. The first win is for the company in its growth. The second and most important win is that you can continue working independently and efficiently.

Employees with disabilities should never have to settle when living a sustainable life. If you still feel unsure, we encourage you to read the links provided within this blog. It’s important to build our confidence through education and awareness to be able to act on our rights.

Businesses must do their part to ensure equity within the company because that is the only way it will succeed. Exercise your right and begin to thrive at your job. 

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This post was written by Keziah Kopman

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