Low-tech and no-tech accommodation solutions abound, and the combined cost of materials and implementation is trivial.For example: Problem: A construction worker develops a medical condition. Solution: Purchase a pair of battery-powered, heated gloves — the kind used by hunters.Cost: $7 Problem: An administrator whose arm is in a cast types with one hand.She finds it awkward to capitalize letters because the shift key and the letter key must be pressed simultaneously.In the March-April issue of Worksite News I described how human rights legislation in Canada requires employers, unions and co-workers to accommodate the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities, provided that doing so does not cause "undue hardship." Undue hardship does not mean experiencing an inconvenience.The criteria for assessing undue hardship are cost (i.e., the cost of accommodating an employee affects the financial viability of the company) and health and safety risks (i.e., the risks caused by accommodating an individual outweighs the benefits of enhancing equality).
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JAN reports that nearly half (49%) of the companies surveyed said that accommodations allowed them to retain a qualified worker and increase the worker's productivity.Low set-up costs are assured because any recent-vintage IBM-compatible PC or Apple Macintosh can house, with little or no modification, virtually any adaptive technology.The reasonable cost of accessibility aids is also attributable to the fact that many — perhaps most — do not involve high technology at all.Treating people equally does not always mean treating them the same.
In some situations, equal treatment for employees with disabilities may require different treatment.
Despite the fact that job accommodations, in general, are reasonably priced, many employers overestimate the cost, assuming that people with disabilities depend on expensive and exotic technical aids.