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Are You Entitled to a Reasonable Accommodation at Work?

The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees workers the right to “reasonable accommodations” for their disabilities, which must be provided by their employer. However, that does not mean that everyone gets access to everything they might want to make their jobs easier. So how do you know if you might be entitled to a reasonable accommodation, and what does that look like?

 

What Are Reasonable Accommodations?


Simply put, a reasonable accommodation is some kind of adjustment to your job, your environment, or the normal way things are done to make it easier for someone with a disability to perform their work-related tasks. These accommodations are meant to help people with disabilities participate in the workplace and perform their job despite limitations caused by that disability. The key, however, is that they must be “reasonable,” meaning that they cannot be overly expensive or burdensome for an employer.


Who Can Get a Reasonable Accommodation?


In theory, anyone with a serious medical or psychological condition can request reasonable accommodations from their employer. However, depending on the nature and extent of the accommodations, your employer is not necessarily required to provide it. This comes down to a question of how extensive the accommodation must be, how much it will cost the employer, and how substantially it will impact the business to make the accommodation.


What Does a Reasonable Accommodation Look Like?


Some common accommodations include things like the following:

  • Allowing an employee to work from home rather than coming into the office.

  • Buying an employee assistive software or equipment to aid with their disability.

  • Giving an employee flexible work hours, additional breaks, or additional time off.

  • Providing interpreters or readers for the visually or auditorily impaired.

  • Modifying job duties to be more manageable for someone with a disability.

  • Providing reserved parking spaces for people with mobility issues.

  • Installing ramps or other modifications to the work environment.

What Should You Do if You Are Not Given a Reasonable Accommodation?


If you have a physical or psychological disability, asked for reasonable accommodations, and were denied, you should speak to your human resources department (if your company has one). Otherwise, you should file a claim with your state’s Department of Labor, as well as potentially with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You should also speak to a lawyer with experience handling employment discrimination claims, who can help you with your case.


Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or stevensackatty@hotmail.com.

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