According to the ADA, an employer may not ask disability-related questions and may not conduct medical examinations until after it makes a conditional job offer to the applicant (EEOC, 1995). An individual, as an applicant or a current employee, may wish to disclose that s/he has a disability and needs an accommodation, but is uncertain whether disclosure is possible or advisable. Including a brief and accurate statement in the job description about the employer’s responsibility and the individuals rights may help initiate the interactive process between an employer and an individual with a disability. If an individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. An employer is not required to reallocate the essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation.
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).