Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled employees throughout the country enjoy protection from discrimination in the workplace. In addition to protection from discrimination, the ADA requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to disabled employees.
If you are an employee with a disability, do you know your employer’s responsibilities toward you? Do you believe that they actually fulfill those responsibilities? This issue can get very complex very quickly. In some cases, an employer can refuse to offer a specific accommodation to a disabled employee if it places an “undue hardship” on the business. An employer may also counterclaim that an employee’s disability does not qualify as a disability or deny that employee is disabled at all.
If you face any of these difficulties, you may have a number of legal remedies, but you’ll need to build a strong case. First, it is important to make sure that you can prove you are in fact legally disabled. While this may seem self-evident in the case of particularly visible disabilities, other disabilities may require medical documentation or some other indicator of legal disability.
Once disability is established, you must consider the scope of the accommodation you request. An employer who refuses to make restroom accommodations for a wheelchair-bound employee may be callous and uncooperative, but an employer who balks at installing an elevator to service a wheelchair when a ramp is also reasonable may have defensible grounds to object to the request. Similarly, if an accommodation is reasonable considering the circumstances in which you need it, but implementing the accommodation would bankrupt the company, this type of consideration may also prevail.
If you believe that your employer is unfairly denying you accommodation for a disability, you can speak with an experienced employment law attorney to determine strong strategies you can use to defend your rights and the rights of many others.
Source: FindLaw, “The Employer’s Duty to Accommodate,” accessed Oct. 13, 2017