What you need to know about reasonable accommodations

All employees in the workplace have the right to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Therefore, if you’re a disabled worker, then you should receive reasonable accommodations to allow you to adequately navigate every step of the employment process.

But what, exactly, does that look like? It usually takes the form of a reasonable accommodation.

Defining “reasonable accommodation”

Before you know how to navigate a reasonable accommodation request, you have to understand what a reasonable accommodation actually entails. Generally speaking, a reasonable accommodation is any modification in the employment process, whether it pertains to hiring or actually carrying out job duties that allow you to perform the essential functions of the job.

For example, an individual who uses a wheelchair may need an accommodation to be able to access key areas of the business’s property, while someone who is blind may need an accommodation to be able to properly read relevant business documents.

When is an accommodation reasonable?

An accommodation is reasonable so long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship on the employer. What, then, constitutes an undue hardship? This determination requires an analysis of the request in question in addition to the employer’s resources.

If the accommodation is excessively costly, then it may be found to impose an undue hardship.

Additionally, if your accommodation negatively impacts essential business operations, then a court may deem the request to be unreasonable.

Making your reasonable accommodation request

If you have a disability that you think requires an accommodation, then you need to bring that to your employer’s attention. It’s best to make this request in writing so that your employer can’t later say that they were unaware of it.

Once your request is received your employer will consider it and subsequently grant or deny the request.

What should you do if your request is denied?

If your request is denied, then you might want to try to negotiate with your employer to see if there’s a way to secure the accommodation that you need but at a reduced cost. This may include paying for part of the accommodation yourself or finding outside funding to assist.

You might also be able to find an alternate accommodation that is sufficient for your needs. Either way, before you consider taking legal action, you should exhaust your options and give your employer the opportunity to reach a fair and favorable resolution.

What if you can’t find an agreement?

If you’ve tried your best to secure a reasonable accommodation but have still been denied, then you may have been discriminated against by your employer. In those circumstances, you might be justified in taking legal action.

By filing a discrimination claim, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm that was caused to you, especially if you had to leave your job or forego a career opportunity on account of your employer’s refusal to provide a reasonable accommodation.

Just remember, as you ready yourself to pursue one of these claims, you’ll need evidence to support your position. Therefore, you should plan to retain all communications that you have with your employer and seek out information pertaining to its ability to pay for your requested accommodation.

Also, keep track of how the denied accommodation has led to economic and non-economic harm.

You may need a legal ally on your side

You should be treated fairly in the workplace. When you’re denied that opportunity, then you need to consider legal action. An attorney who knows how to handle these sorts of cases can give you the advocacy that you need to strengthen your chances of holding your employer accountable and recovering your losses.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about what a legal advocate can do for you, then you might want to consider reaching out to a legal team that is well-versed in employment law cases.