If you have lived with a disability your entire life, or you recently suffered an accident or illness leaving you permanently or temporarily disabled, you may still be able to perform the essential functions of a job. However, your condition could make performing certain jobs difficult, unless there are reasonable modifications made to your work environment or your job duties.
Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed to help employees with disabilities remain employed or seek new employment. An employer cannot discriminate against you based on your disability. Upon request, they must consider making reasonable accommodations that allow you to perform the essential functions of your job unless it would impose an undue hardship on the business.
A question both employers and employees often ask is, “What is a reasonable accommodation?” The answer to that question is below.
Under the ADA, a reasonable accommodation is “any change in the work environment or in the way a job is performed that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While employers cannot inquire about your disability, if you initiate the conversation they can explore what accommodations you may need to perform the essential functions of your job. Those accommodations must be reasonable. So, what are reasonable accommodations?
What is considered reasonable varies based on your job, the size of the employer, the cost of the accommodation, and impact on customers and co-workers. What is considered reasonable for one employer and employee may not be considered reasonable in a different work environment. The issue will be whether the requested accommodation creates an undue hardship for the employer. Examples of reasonable accommodations include job restructuring, modified work schedules, flexible leave policies, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, or making the physical workplace more accessible. The accommodations you will need depend on the nature of your disability and your work
Reasonable accommodations don’t only pertain to your immediate work environment. For example, if your disability requires multiple doctor’s appointments, your employer may also be required to provide this time off, another way of accommodating your disability.
Employers and employees are often confused about what is and what is not considered a reasonable accommodation. The key to defining it is application of the term “reasonable.”
Accommodations that pose an undue burden for a business or co-workers, or that create an unsafe work environment for any employee are not considered reasonable.
If you have a disability and feel as though your rights have been violated, you need the experience of our Columbus employment attorneys. At Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC, we can help you understand your rights and answer your questions regarding what constitutes a disability, a reasonable accommodation, and discuss the ADA process. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you with a potential case.
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