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EEOC: Accommodating Visual Disabilities

​Employers should provide modifications such as flexible schedules, readers (whether human or technological) and assistive technology (such as audio alarms) as reasonable accommodations for individuals with visual disabilities, as long as there's no undue hardship for businesses, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated in updated guidance released July 26. The guidance, "Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)," includes numerous examples of accommodations.

The document "provides a reminder of the duty to think creatively when an employee requests an accommodation or is in obvious need of an accommodation," said Peter Petesch, an attorney with Littler in Washington, D.C.
EEOC Guidance Provides Examples of Accommodations for People with Visual Disabilities
SHRM | Aug 2023

Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act
EEOC Guidance | Jul 2023

Accommodation Resources

Accommodating Employees' Disabilities
SHRM Toolkit

Job Accommodation Network
Job Accommodation Network

Law Firm Articles

For employees, employers may ask questions about a visual disability only when they have a reasonable belief that the employee's ability to perform the essential job functions is impaired or that they will pose a direct threat in the workplace. This can arise where employers observe performance issues that reasonably may be related to a known vision impairment, or where the employer observes symptoms that could indicate a vision impairment (difficulty visually focusing, reliable reports from others). Employers should keep in mind, however, that poor performance may be unrelated to a disability, and should not make assumptions.
EEOC Updates Its Guidance on Visual Disabilities in the Workplace
Shawe | Aug 2023

According to the EEOC, many individuals with vision impairments can successfully and safely perform their jobs, with or without reasonable accommodation. Under the ADA, these individuals should not be denied employment opportunities for which they are qualified based on stereotypes or incorrect assumptions that they may cause safety hazards, may increase employment costs (whether related to provision of reasonable accommodation or for other reasons), or may have difficulty performing certain job duties.  In other words, the EEOC requires an individualized assessment to determine whether an individual's vision impairment poses a "direct threat."
EEOC Issues New Guidance on Visual Disabilities in the Workplace
Maynard | Aug 2023

Employers should always engage in the interactive process and not assume that an accommodation cannot be provided to permit the offeree or employee to perform the essential job functions. The new guidance emphasizes that employers should consider a wide range of potential accommodations during the interactive process, including both new and old technology
EEOC's Updated Guidance on Visual Disabilities Provides Both New Information and Reminders for Employers
Carothers | Aug 2023


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.