What is a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace? - BKL Lawyers

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What is a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace?

Posted December 7, 2021 | Discrimination, Employment Law

As an employee with a disability, you have certain employee rights that your employer needs to respect. Not only does this include the right to be free of employment discrimination related to your disability, but it also gives you the right to have a reasonable accommodation in the workplace.

A reasonable accommodation is a modification that allows an employee with a disability to have equal opportunity in securing a job and completing their job duties successfully. According to Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, this is required of employers with more than 15 employees. Reasonable accommodations are required so long as they do not cause undue hardship for the employer. New York State Human Rights Law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations.

How Do I Know if I’m Entitled to Accommodations?

Many might wonder if their disability warrants reasonable accommodation under the ADA. According to the ADA, an individual with a disability is someone “who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.” This means that if a person has a mental disability that only causes minor limitations, they might not be covered by the ADA and have a right to reasonable accommodations.

Do I Need to Request a Reasonable Accommodation?

If you have a disability and believe you require reasonable accommodation to successfully perform your job duties, you need to make your employer aware of this. In some cases, employers can ask employees if they require reasonable accommodations if they have a known disability if they reasonably believe there could be a need for one.

When requesting reasonable accommodations, employees do not have to use the term “reasonable accommodation” or reference the ADA for their request to be accepted. Employees can request reasonable accommodations at any point in their employment, including during the application process.

While your request for reasonable accommodations doesn’t have to be in writing, it’s recommended to do it this way so that you have proof of the request. If you request a reasonable accommodation in your workplace, your employer may require proof of the disability to approve it.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

There are many types of reasonable accommodations that an employee may need depending on what their disability is and how it affects their job performance. Because of this, it’s important that reasonable accommodations are individualized to fit an employee’s unique needs.

Here are common examples of reasonable accommodations that employees may request.

  • Allowing service animals
  • Allowing telework
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment
  • Changing job tasks
  • Changing training materials or workplace policies
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Making workspaces accessible, such as ramps for employees in wheelchairs
  • Reassigning an employee to a vacant position they’re qualified for

In some cases, an employee may not know what type of accommodation would be most suitable for them. If this happens, the employee and employer must work together to find a solution.

What To Do If You’re Denied Reasonable Accommodations

If your request for reasonable accommodation was denied or ignored, you need help getting the treatment you deserve. Our New York City employment discrimination lawyers can help if your employer has refused to provide reasonable accommodation for your disability. You deserve the opportunity to be successful at work, and Brown Kwon & Lam can help.

Contact us today if you believe you’ve experienced disability discrimination in the workplace.

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