In identifying an essential function to determine if an individual with a disability is qualified, the employer should focus on the purpose of the function and the result to be accomplished, rather than the manner in which the function presently is performed. An individual with a disability may be qualified to perform the function if an accommodation would enable this person to perform the job in a different way, and the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship. Although it may be essential that a function be performed, frequently it is not essential that it be performed in a particular way (EEOC, 1992).
Sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to get a sense of the overall accommodation picture. A job description can be a constructive tool for exploring task-specific accommodation options. Often, it is beneficial to consider the specific tasks that comprise the job. This can help pinpoint what limitations are affecting an individuals job performance and what functions can be accommodated. Understanding an individual’s functional limitations provides helpful clues when searching for accommodation solutions.