Accommodation for disabled employees

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Posted by Legal Team On February 18, 2015

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made great progress in the equal treatment of disabled individuals in the workplace. In California, this progress is amplified by the additional protections afforded by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). These two Acts come together to ensure that disabled individuals are allowed to contribute to society in the same ways that non-disabled individuals are. Thanks to the ADA, disabled workers are able to hold jobs that they otherwise would not be able to hold.

This ability comes from the ADA?s requirement that employers make reasonable accommodations to facilitate a disabled individual?s disability. These accommodations can be anything from adding wheelchair access to help disabled workers move about to modifying the work schedule so that a disabled individual is capable of completing the functions of the job without injuring or harming themselves. However, the key word in this provision is “reasonable,” as it can sometimes be difficult to determine how much accommodation is reasonable for the employer.

Under the ADA, the accommodations are not reasonable if they cause undue hardship to the business attempting to provide them. Such hardships can be the cost of making the accommodations, the size of the employer and many others. For a more complete explanation of the ADA?s reasonable accommodation law, visit this article.

Because accommodation must be weighed against how reasonable it is for the employee versus how much hardship it causes employers, it can sometimes be difficult to make progress. This is especially true depending on any state-specific laws that may affect the employment of disabled individuals. In California, with the help of the FEHA, disabled employees have additional protection that they might be able to take advantage of. If you feel that you are being mistreated in the workplace as a result of your disability, consider meeting with an attorney to discuss your circumstances.