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Reasonable Accommodation

Both state and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s disability. This includes discrimination in the hiring, firing, job application procedures, promotion structure, job training and job assignments. An additional and often highly contentious part of disability protection is the right to a reasonable accommodation.

The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities that allow them to continue working while also managing their disability. This right is not absolute, and employers are not required to provide whatever accommodation you demand. The accommodation must be reasonable. In addition, the ADA prohibits employers from taking any negative action against you for requesting the accommodation. This is called “retaliation” and also constitutes a violation of the ADA.

Determining whether an accommodation is reasonable varies from business to business and situation to situation. There is no one size fits all answer to what is reasonable. Some potentially reasonable accommodations include:

  • time off for medical appointments;
  • special equipment or office furniture for the disabled employee;
  • modifications to job duties;
  • providing additional time to complete assignments; and
  • permitting breaks, or a modified work schedule.

In order to receive protection under the ADA, you must ask for the accommodation. Simply having a disability and assuming that your employer understands your needs is insufficient. Employers who refuse to consider any requests or take action against you, such as a demotion, pay reduction, disciplinary action or termination, based on your request for accommodation may be in violation of federal and state law.

Often, accommodations can be essential to job success. If you need an accommodation, the best way to protect your interests is to discuss the issue with an experienced attorney and ask your employer for the accommodation. If you believe that your job may be in jeopardy or your employer has retaliated against you for requesting an accommodation, schedule an appointment with Harvey & Binnall. We pride ourselves on our preparation and thorough analysis of each client’s situation to achieve the best result through litigation and negotiation with your employer. Our team will discuss your legal options, the potential risks and benefits of taking legal action, and advise you on how to proceed.