What is a reasonable accommodation in the workplace?

| Aug 21, 2020 | Workplace discrimination |

Individuals who do not live with disabilities may not always notice just how difficult the world is to navigate for individuals with physical and mental differences. When a building does not have a ramp, an individual in a wheelchair may not be able to access it. If a crossing signal does not have an audio indicator, a blind person may not know when it is safe to cross. Laws at the state and federal levels have mandated that different industries and workplaces recognize and accommodate the different abilities of disabled people.

In Kentucky and throughout the nation, many employers are mandated to provide their disabled employees with reasonable work accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An accommodation can look different based on the needs of individual employees. For a wheelchair-bound worker, a reasonable accommodation may be a lower desk that allows them to use it while in their wheelchair without having to move to another seat.

Unfortunately, though, the ADA does not provide a lot of guidance on what is considered reasonable and just how far employers have to go to accommodate their workers. Employers can oppose requested accommodations under the ADA if they can demonstrate that the accommodations would subject them to undue hardships. Undue hardships can involve challenges or difficulties in procuring the requested accommodations or the costs associated with procuring such items.

When a worker is hired to do a job, they should be given the right tools and supplies to accomplish their tasks. For disabled workers, this can mean getting different or more tools than their workplace counterparts. Employment attorneys who work with victims of workplace discrimination can advise their clients on how best to approach their employment-based needs and the accommodations they require to get their jobs done.