Disability Discrimination: Understanding Reasonable Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most comprehensive piece of legislation for people with disabilities. Among other things, the ADA guarantees that people with disabilities enjoy the same employment opportunities as others, and that they do not face discrimination on the basis of their disability.
A key component of the ADA is a requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations to eligible employees with disabilities. Here, disability discrimination attorney Dan A. Atkerson helps workers in Allen, TX, Plano, TX, and Frisco, TX, understand disability discrimination laws regarding reasonable accommodations and undue hardships, so that they can request the accommodations necessary to perform their job effectively.
Who Is Eligible for Reasonable Accommodations?
Under the ADA, reasonable accommodations are available to qualified employees and job applicants with disabilities. The ADA does not specifically list which disabilities are covered by the ADA. Instead, the ADA states that an employee or job applicant may be eligible for reasonable accommodations if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Reasonable accommodation requirements apply whether the person is applying for a job, or is a full-time, part-time, or probationary employee.
Types of Reasonable Accommodations
A reasonable accommodation is a change in the work environment or a change in the application process that allows an employee or potential employee with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Generally, there are three types of reasonable accommodations:
- A modification or adjustment to the job application process that enables a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for their desired position
- A modification or adjustment to the work environment that enables an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of their position
- Modifications or adjustments that allow employees with disabilities to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by employees without disabilities
Depending on the specific circumstances, reasonable accommodations may include:
- Making facilities accessible
- Restructuring job duties
- Modifying work schedules
- Providing assistive equipment
- Making changes to tests or training materials
- Reassigning to a vacant position
Making a Request for Reasonable Accommodations
Employees or job applicants are responsible for making a request for reasonable accommodations. Requests should be made in writing. The letter should inform the employer that they need an adjustment or change because of medical reasons. The worker should specify the type of accommodation they are requesting, but they do not need to provide details regarding their medical condition.
Reasonable Accommodations and Undue Hardship
The ADA states that employers must provide reasonable accommodations unless it would place an “undue hardship”on the employer. If an employer denies a request for reasonable accommodations, they must explain how the adjustment or modification would cause an undue hardship.
An undue hardship may apply to requests that are especially costly, or those that are difficult to provide because they are particularly extensive or disruptive. Reasonable accommodations should be considered on a case-by-case basis, so that if an employer denies one request for accommodation due to undue hardship, they are not automatically exempt from providing other accommodations.
Get In Touch
If you would like more information about the rights provided by the ADA, or believe that your rights have been violated and would like to consider your next best course of action, disability discrimination attorney Dan A. Atkerson would be happy to help. To learn more, contact us online at your earliest convenience, or call our law firm at (214) 383-3606.