Most workers are provided with extensive state and federal protections against discrimination and harassment. Any non-compliance with those laws can justify legal action. One subject that receives a lot of attention is the interaction of employment law with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This federal law requires qualifying employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled individuals in order to allow them to receive equal employment opportunities.
What constitutes a reasonable accommodation?
To start, it’s important to note that a reasonable accommodation can be requested at any point in the employment process. Once the request is made, the employer, if required to comply with the ADA, must make those accommodations unless doing so would create an undue hardship. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Flexible work schedules
- Modified equipment
- Use of a service animal
- Reassignment of tasks
- Relocation of where job duties will be performed
These are just a few examples. Many other accommodations may be found to be reasonable.
What’s an undue hardship?
For an employer to demonstrate that a reasonable accommodation request constitutes an undue hardship, it generally must show that making the accommodation would be extremely costly or disruptive to essential business operations. But even if the initial request is denied, employers should make an effort to find other ways to assist the employee, such as by searching for outside funding, requesting the employee to cover some of the costs, or providing alternative accommodations.
Both employers and employees can benefit from learning more about their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.