What Exactly Is Reasonable Accommodation For A Disability?
Under federal and California state law, employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified workers with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. The purpose of those accommodations is to enable workers with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
If you are an employee with a disability in California, your employer is subject to both the federal law (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and state law (the Fair Employment and Housing Act). But what does “reasonable accommodation” for a disability mean under the ADA and FEHA?
If you are considering requesting accommodation at work for your disability, consult with a Los Angeles employment lawyer to discuss your rights.
What Are the Disability Accommodation Requirements in California?
Employers in California must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities if the following is true:
- The employer becomes aware of the worker’s disability or perceives that the worker has a disability;
- The worker makes a request for accommodations in the workplace;
- The requested accommodation would not cause undue hardship to the employer; and
- The accommodation would allow the worker to perform their essential job duties.
Note: In California, employers have no obligation to offer accommodation to employees until a request for such accommodation is made by a worker.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities?
Once a request for accommodations is made by a worker, their employer is obligated to use the interactive process to reach an agreement regarding “reasonable accommodations.” Now, it is possible that during the interactive process, the employer and employee may reach a conclusion that:
- No reasonable accommodation would enable the worker to perform their essential duties; or
- Providing accommodations would put an undue hardship on the employer
Whether or not an accommodation is reasonable depends on the following factors:
- The cost of the requested accommodation;
- The worker’s essential job duties; and
- The company’s size and resources
What Are Examples of Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities?
Let’s review common examples of reasonable accommodations when a worker has a disability:
- Altering or reassigning job duties. Many employers offer employees with disabilities to alter or reassign some of their job duties as part of the accommodations. An employer may reassign physically demanding tasks to other employees or restrict the type of duties a disabled worker is required to perform (e.g., not requiring the employee to lift objects weighing more than a certain amount).
- Providing medical leave options. An employer may also provide extended medical leave options to allow disabled workers to seek medical care for their disability.
- Offering another work schedule. Another way to accommodate a worker’s disability is to offer him or her an altered work schedule. Alternatively, an employer may offer a disabled worker the opportunity to work from home.
- Relocating a work area. It may be reasonable to relocate an employee to another work area, office, or facility if doing so helps accommodate a disability. For example, if a worker cannot use the stairs due to their disability, it would be reasonable for an employer to move the employee’s work area to the first floor.
- Providing furniture and equipment. Unless doing so causes an undue hardship, an employer may also provide ergonomic furniture and special equipment to accommodate a worker’s disability.
If you believe that your employer failed to provide reasonable accommodations, you may want to consult with a Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyer to discuss your situation. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C., to talk about your situation. Call 424-284-2401.