Reasonable Accommodation and Disability Discrimination
By Gregory Thyberg on February 23, 2018
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities have rights and protections against workplace discrimination. Yet even if the ADA does protect disabled workers, there are numerous unscrupulous employers who will avoid making reasonable accommodations on the behalf of these employees. Should that occur, the Sacramento, CA firm of ThybergLaw can help.
By working with a workplace disability discrimination attorney, you can hold your employer accountable for their actions and make sure others are protected from their discriminatory practices. Since reasonable accommodation is often misunderstood, we’d like to cover the basics of these issues below.
About Reasonable Accommodation
Reasonable accommodation refers to changes at a workplace that allow an employee with a disability to perform their job properly as if they did not have a disability. These accommodations can take a number of different forms, but they are relatively low-cost and could be considered reasonable given the circumstances.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodation
Some examples of reasonable accommodation include:
- Workplace Accessibility - Workplaces ought to be wheelchair accessible, and allow for easy navigation and maneuvering for wheelchairs.
- Accommodations at Desks/Workstations - The height of desks and other workplace equipment should be able to accommodate employees with disabilities. Screen magnifiers and other office equipment should be readily available, and the same goes for ergonomic adjustments of any workstations/work areas.
- Altering Schedules for Medical Treatment - If an employee’s disability requires regular medical attention, employers should be willing to modify regular work schedules to address the employee’s needs (e.g., not scheduling the employee on days they have regular medical visits).
- Offering Additional Medical Leave - Allowing additional medical leave for an employee with a disability helps ensure they can get treatment they need should their condition necessitate it.
Undue Hardship vs. Reasonable Accommodation
While employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, the employer is not required to make changes that would result in an undue hardship to the business. In essence, an undue hardship refers to a change that would be too difficult to accomplish or cost prohibitive.
Examples of Undue Hardship
Some examples of undue hardship include:
- Expense and Cost - If it would cost too much to accommodate the employee, the employer may face an undue hardship on their part.
- Extensive Changes to a Business or Property - Related to the cost of an accommodation, major changes to a business’ premises or space could be considered an undue hardship.
Keep in mind that the notion of expensiveness is relative. An undue hardship for a small local business could be considered a reasonable accommodation for a multinational corporation.
Discussing Your Needs with Your Employer
If you have a disability and feel that your current work arrangement can be reasonable changed to improve your job performance, be sure to discuss these matters with your employer first. Many companies are willing to help their employees out, and will strive to make reasonable accommodations based on the needs of their workers.
When to Seek the Help of a Disability Discrimination Lawyer
If you have talked with your employer and they do not accommodate your needs, it’s time to speak with a disability discrimination attorney. An attorney from our firm will fight diligently for your rights to ensure proper changes are made. If your employer persists in discriminating against you, our firm will take the business to court to ensure employment laws are properly enforced and your legal protections are observed.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal rights and options when it comes to reasonable accommodation and workplace discrimination, be sure to contact an experienced workplace disability discrimination lawyer. The team here at ThybergLaw will fight for you every step of the way.