"How Do I Accommodate This Person?" Ask JAN
June 23, 2022 7:28 AM   Subscribe

A couple years ago, through Ask a Manager comment threads (previously), I learned about the Job Accommodation Network which has a giant organized list of accommodations an employer could make, sorted "by disability, by limitation, by work-related function, by topic, and by accommodation". It's also a useful source of ideas if you're interested in better accommodating yourself as a self-employed freelancer, or supporting your family, friends, or volunteers.

For example, if you manage an autistic person, JAN can suggest accommodation ideas (including products to buy and strategies to implement) so you can talk about them with your employee and jointly consider them.

Or, if you're sensitive to fragrances, JAN can suggest accommodations you could request, such as a Powered Air Purifying Respirator -- including specific vendors and models, with links to buy.

Or, if you are having trouble with a particular limitation, even if you don't have a specific diagnosed disability, you can use the By Limitation tab to look up issues you've noticed and start trying out ideas for addressing them -- at work, at home, and elsewhere. And JAN helps you effectively request accommodations at work.

Or, if you want to make your community group more generally accessible, you can check out the By Work Related Function tab to look up relevant tasks and consider accommodations you can make available.

And if you aren't aiming to do anything at all, it's still fascinating to click around the site and find out that odor-absorbing underwear and simulated windows and a support person at work are possible!

JAN is:
a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy/ODEP .... Its development has been achieved through the collaborative efforts of ODEP, West Virginia University, and private industry throughout North America.
posted by brainwane (6 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
Wow - this is REALLY cool. And fascinating!

I really like the information on the individual pages - there's background about each category of disability, so people who may not be familiar with, say, sleep disorders can learn about what they are and some of the different types of sleep disorders.

And I really like that they offer lists of helpful products, services, and strategies on one hand (apps for memory, break reminder software, color coded systems, coaches) and policies on the other hand (flexible scheduling, better supervisory methods, facilitating support animals).

And I really like the little anecdotes of specific situations and solutions (although it's interesting to note that many of these entries describe requested accommodations being denied, and employers trying easier or cheaper alternatives instead).

I can imagine that for small employers in particular, coping with their first accommodation request can be daunting. This site seems like a really reassuring and helpful resource, showing employers that there are all kinds of ways to make the workplace work better for all kinds of employees.

And in a culture where many people still feel they should be grateful for any job and not ask for the accommodations they need, it's GREAT to see so many specific options laid out in such a friendly way.

This is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I am SO glad it exists (my tax dollars at work! yay!), and so very glad to know about it. Thank you so much for the excellent post, brainwane!
posted by kristi at 8:10 AM on June 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

I found it interesting. I type one handed, because my right hand is deformed. I took typing in high school, and my teacher actually did some research on how to modify the class to support me, so I kinda know how I "should" type. I just want to say that "ergonomic" keyboards are horrible for anyone who doesn't have 10 good fingers, and I hope that I never have to use one again.
One of my ex-coworkers had one with the keys on concave patches on either side of the keyboard, and it was worse than hunt and peck for me. God, I dreaded every time I went to his office, on the off chance that I'd have to type something. Brrr.
posted by Spike Glee at 11:11 AM on June 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Your Tax Dollars at Work.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 12:39 PM on June 23, 2022

This is awesome! For workers, for management, for friends. Thank you for sharing!
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 4:00 PM on June 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is wildly helpful, thank you for sharing it.

My employer has started piloting something they are calling a disability passport, with the idea that accommodations agreed to between a supervisor and their employee are documented (without needing to disclose the nature of the disability) so that the employee can then use that documentation/passport to start a conversation with their new supervisor when they change positions (it's not put on an employee file for privacy reasons, but they themselves keep a copy, as does the manager). Generally, employees will have an idea of what accommodations they will need when they come in, but this list will be helpful for both them and me when working out accommodations measures.
posted by urbanlenny at 5:27 PM on June 23, 2022 [4 favorites]

Working in HR, I have turned to JAN several times over the years. Whenever I am stumped about the best path forward for the company and the employee, I can call up JAN and chat with someone will have many great ideas on suitable accommodations.
posted by JennyJupiter at 10:06 AM on July 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

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