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Examining “reasonable” employee accommodation in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Employee Rights |

A proven New Jersey employment law source makes the following important point concerning workplace discrimination targeting a prospective or current worker’s disability.

It sadly notes that many employers “cannot look past a person’s impairment, and only see “can’t” or “cost.””

That is both unfair and unfortunate.

Moreover, it also spells this: flatly unlawful conduct aimed at a select employment demographic that is rightly afforded protection under powerful federal and state laws.

Potent legislation that safeguards disabled workers

A New Jersey employer that treats a disabled worker in an illegal manner runs squarely into statutory legislation that firmly prohibits such conduct.

And it is law with teeth, as noted in the above source’s reference to the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, respectively. Those enactments “prohibit employers from discriminating against people solely on the basis of their physical or mental disability.”

That ban comes with this caveat, which is notably narrow: Disparate treatment might in some instances be unobjectionable, but never in the event that a targeted worker generally meets the criteria/requirements of a job listing.

That’s only fair from a workers’ perspective, no? Legions of individuals spanning the country have a physical or mental impairment that does not preclude them from doing quality work per stated company directives.

All they ask is this: a fair and equal chance to prove it, which is often easily secured when company principals employ a meet-halfway mindset and policies.

ADA and LAD anchor: “reasonable” accommodation

Both the federal and New Jersey laws cited above set forth a “reasonable” accommodation test that courts are guided by in workplace disability discrimination cases.

The aforementioned employment law source duly stresses a kind of slippery slope regarding accommodation. It states that it can be “somewhat open to interpretation.”

Notwithstanding that, though, proven pro-employee attorneys are amply able to gauge reasonableness, especially given the onus placed upon employers to engage in good faith with a disabled job candidate or worker concerning accommodations.

Here’s the legal bottom line concerning an accommodation that is reasonable and can be offered by a company: If those parameters can be met, and there is no proof of undue burden imposed on an employer, there is no wiggle room. The accommodation MUST be offered.

Disabled individuals who can work have a legal right to do so. When they are denied the opportunity, they can turn for forceful legal help and a meaningful remedy to an experienced employment law legal team.