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Disabled workers and the interactive process

If you are familiar with the ADA or the FEHA, you are probably familiar with the phrase "reasonable accommodation." This phrase refers to the legal requirement that employers have to make changes to a work environment that facilitate a disabled individual's ability to perform the functions of a job. It can include things like adding more handicapped parking or constructing ramps to allow an employee in a wheelchair to move more easily around the workplace.

What you may not know about these reasonable accommodations is that employers are also required to engage in a process of determining what accommodations you might need and whether or not they are reasonable. They need to do this through active discussion. Employers have a legal obligation to discuss your circumstances with you and let you know where the company stands and how any accommodations would or would not affect all parties involved.

Specifically, this means that employers cannot simply make the accommodations that they think you need or tell you what accommodations they are willing to make and telling you to take it or leave it. Your employer is required to discuss your circumstances, learn what accommodations you need based on your input, and explain why the company cannot make such accommodations if the employer feels that they are unreasonable.

Because of this requirement, you could take legal action against an employer even if the employer made accommodations for you. If you feel that the accommodations were not enough, or if the employer is refusing to make additional accommodations, you could still recover compensation for a violation of your rights under California's FEHA. If you feel that your rights have been violated, visit our web page to learn how we can help you take advantage of your employee rights.

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