Many Americans are likely familiar with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which establishes provisions and regulations by which employers must adhere to ensure that disabled individuals do not face discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act establishes even further protections for disabled workers. Both of these acts outline the reasonable accommodations that employers must make to ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to perform the functions of their job.
The important term in this is “reasonable,” because exactly what qualifies as reasonable can be open to interpretation in many instances. However, according to the ADA, if an accommodation places undue hardship on the employer, then it may not qualify as reasonable. Generally speaking, such an undue hardship would be an accommodation that is significantly difficult or expensive for an employer to make.
When deciding whether an accommodation is reasonable or an undue hardship, there are many factors that courts consider, such as the cost the accommodation would put on the company relative to the company’s financial resources. Still, it is worth exploring the possibility that your rights as a disabled individual have been violated if an employer refused to attempt to make accommodations for your disability.
Ultimately each case is unique, and though there are many factors to consider, there is no true infallible guideline for whether or not an accommodation is reasonable or an undue hardship. Additionally, employees in California are afforded even further protections thanks to the FEHA. If you live in California and you believe that you have faced discrimination because of your disability, consider meeting with an attorney to discuss your rights.