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Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998)

Code of Good Practice

Employment of Persons with Disabilities

6. Reasonable accommodation6 for persons with disabilities


6.1 Employers must reasonably accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.7 The aim of the accommodation is to reduce the impact of the impairment of the person's capacity to fulfil the essential functions of a job.


6.2 Employers must assess and adopt effective measures, both in terms of cost and quality that is consistent with removing the barriers to perform the job and to enjoy equal access to the benefits and opportunities of employment.


6.3 Reasonable accommodation requirement applies to applicants and employees with disabilities who are suitably qualified for the job, which may be required—
(a) during the recruitment and selection processes;
(b) in the working environment;
(c) in the way work is usually done, evaluated and rewarded; and
(d) in the benefits and privileges of employment.


6.4 The obligation to make reasonable accommodation may arise when an applicant or employee voluntarily discloses a disability related accommodation need or when such a need is reasonably self-evident to the employer.


6.5 Employers must also accommodate employees when work or the work environment changes or impairment varies which affects the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job.


6.6 The employer must consult the employee, and where reasonable and by agreement with the employee, acquire the services of technical experts to establish appropriate mechanisms to accommodate the employee.


6.7 The particular accommodation will depend on the individual, the degree and nature of impairment and its effect on the person, as well as on the job and the working environment.


6.8 Reasonable accommodation may be temporary or permanent, depending on the nature and extent of the disability.


6.9 Reasonable accommodation includes but is not limited to—
(a) adapting existing facilities to make them accessible;
(b) adapting existing equipment or acquiring new equipment including computer hardware and software;
(c) re-organizing workstations;
(d) changing training and assessment materials and systems;
(e) restructuring jobs so that non-essential functions are re-assigned;
(f) adjusting working conditions, including working time and leave; and
(g) providing specialized supervision, training and support in the workplace.


6.10 An employer may evaluate work performance against the same standards as other employees; however, the nature of the disability in certain circumstances may require an employer to adapt the way in which performance is measured.


6.11 The employer need not accommodate a qualified applicant or an employee with a disability if this would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the business of the employer.


6.12 'Unjustifiable hardship' is action that requires significant or considerable difficulty or expense. This involves considering, amongst other things, the effectiveness of the accommodation and the extent to which it would seriously disrupt the operation of the business.


6.13 An accommodation that imposes an unjustifiable hardship for one employer at a specific time may not be so for another or for the same employer at a different time.



6 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2007 defines "Reasonable accommodation as ― necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms."


7 Section 1 of the Act defines reasonable accommodation as "any modification or adjustment to a job or to the working environment that will enable a person from a designated group to have reasonable access to or participate or advance in employment".