What Is a Reasonable Workplace Accommodation?

Disability discrimination is a very real problem in workplaces across the United States. Wrongful impressions and discriminatory intents can deprive qualified disabled workers from employment positions and benefits because of the actions of others. These actions violate the law and hurt individuals who are capable of working with reasonable accommodations.

A reasonable accommodation is a concept introduced in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This post will discuss the term and give examples of what it may look like in different workplaces. No part of this post should be read as legal advice, and individuals with questions about disability discrimination are encouraged to talk to employment rights attorneys in the D.C metro area.

Reasonable Accommodations: Important Criteria to Understand

Disability discrimination can prevent qualified disabled workers from holding and procuring work opportunities. Employers may not discriminate in the classification of workers or use discriminatory standards to assign jobs or work responsibilities to workers based on their disabilities. If a worker has a known disability, they may seek a reasonable accommodation from their employer to accommodate their needs to complete their work tasks.

There is no individual standard for what constitutes a reasonable accommodation. The concept is broad to cover disabilities in different types. For example, a worker in a wheelchair may require a different desk than others that allows them to wheel up to their workspace. A worker with intellectual disabilities may require more time or guidance to complete work that has been assigned to them.

When Accommodations May Be Denied

In some situations, a worker’s need for an accommodation may be considered unreasonable for an employer due to the undue hardship that it imposes on the employer. Undue hardships can be claimed based on certain criteria, including but not limited to:

  • The cost of the accommodation relative to the employer’s situation;
  • The size of the accommodation and the employer;
  • The number of employees that work at the employer; and
  • Other factors.

Workers who believe that they have been discriminated against at work because of their disabilities can seek legal advice for their possible claims. Attorneys who serve employee rights clients can advise those with questions of how best to approach their possible cases.

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