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As an employer, there are limits to reasonable accommodation

Nov 12, 2021 | Employment litigation

A reasonable accommodation is a change made in the workplace to enable employees to discharge their duties despite having a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation is in line with the law, prohibiting any discrimination at the workplace based on a person’s disability.

Some examples of reasonable accommodation include:

  • Restructuring jobs to accommodate an employee’s medical shift, for instance.
  • Transferring an employee to another location in the same job for them to obtain medical care.
  • Making existing facilities usable by disabled employees. This may include modifying the height of working desks or setting up computer screens magnifiers for visually impaired employees.

These are just some actions that the employer may take to accommodate an employee. However, the law does not require you to go to the ends of the world when providing reasonable accommodation.

Undue hardship when providing reasonable accommodation

An employer is not needed to make a reasonable accommodation if it would impose an undue hardship on their business. Such actions include all actions that may require considerable expense or difficulty in implementation. Actions that affect the operations of a company can also be considered an undue hardship.

Undue hardship is determined on an individual basis. It considers the nature and cost of the accommodation alongside the size, resources, and structure of the business in question.

Understand you rights

You do not have to eliminate an essential function of your business, such as the fundamental duty of a position, as you seek to provide reasonable accommodation. A person with a disability but cannot perform their essential duties effectively, regardless of reasonable accommodation, is not qualified for the position.

Action taken against such an individual cannot be regarded as a violation of the law. Therefore, understanding your legal rights as a business owner will not only save your company money but will also help you avoid any brushes with the law.