Employers’ Obligation To Provide Reasonable Accommodations In The Workplace In California - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Employers’ Obligation To Provide Reasonable Accommodations In The Workplace In California

People who are disabled deserve the same rights as everyone else. This includes the right to employment. Because of this, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have made guidelines for employers that need to be followed.

So, what does this mean for disabled workers? 

The FEHA and ADA require all employers to make necessary and reasonable accommodations for those who suffer from a disability. However, this can’t create an undue hardship for the employer, so guidelines have been set.

What is a reasonable accommodation? 

Reasonable accommodation can be defined in several ways. This includes:

  • Any adjustments or modifications to a job so that the employee is able to do the job that he or she was hired to do. It allows him or her to do a job like anyone else would be able to do so.
  • Changing the work environment.
  • Allowing the disabled person to receive an equal employment opportunity by changing the way that things are typically done.

What does this mean for employers?

Since reasonable accommodation isn’t always easy to navigate, many employers accidentally make mistakes, which could land them in serious trouble. 

Here are some of the most common mistakes that are made when it comes to disabled employees.

Not recognizing that an accommodation needs to be made. Most companies and businesses don’t have a policy in place to figure out how to handle disability accommodation requests (and how they should be made. Because of this, many employees don’t know how they should proceed.

Most of the time, all accommodation requests should be made through the human resources department. If there isn’t one, the request should be made directly to the manager or business owner. If the request is made to someone else, they have to report it to the correct person.

Requesting private medical information. An employer isn’t able to ask about the condition that requires accommodation. It is against the law for the employer to require information and documentation prior to approving an accommodation.

That being said, the information that does get shared with the human resources department or manager shouldn’t be shared with others. Only one person needs to know the nature of the accommodation. Everyone else just needs to understand and follow it.

Denying the request because the requestor didn’t have a solution. Though it would be helpful if the disabled employee had a solution to the problem, the request can’t be denied for that reason.

In fact, the only way that an employer can deny an accommodation is because it will create an undue hardship. However, this isn’t easy to prove. Employers need to have good reasons why they are unable to follow through and make an accommodation. Financial difficulty isn’t enough!

So, what can you do if you aren’t being treated the way that you should be?

If you are struggling with a disability and your employer isn’t taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you can continue to do your job to the best of your ability, it may be time to take some action. Here at Aiman-Smith & Marcy, we are proud to have more than sixty years of combined experience representing individuals with disabilities who have experienced discrimination in the workplace. We will be able to sit down and discuss what is going on to see if you even have a case. If you do, we will talk to you about your options to ensure that you make the right decision for you.

Don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys today at 510-817-2711 or online to schedule your free consultation.