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When refusal of reasonable accommodation becomes discrimination

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Employment Law For Employees

Your individual circumstances might make it more difficult for you to carry out your work duties like your coworkers do. These circumstances might be a disability or a medical condition, special religious requirements, pregnancy or something else. You might already know that you have the right to request reasonable accommodations from your employer in order to be able to do your job. At what point does the refusal of these accommodations give you grounds for a discrimination lawsuit against your employer?

What the law requires of employers

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal statute that outlines the responsibilities and obligations of employers when they have an employee with unique circumstances and requirements. The Act gives employees the right to request accommodations of their work duties to fit their circumstances and requires employers to comply with these requests – if they are objectively reasonable.

If a lawsuit arises over whether a certain accommodation request was reasonable or not, courts will typically examine how much hardship and expense the accommodation would represent for the employer.

If the accommodation would help the employee to fulfill their work duties despite their circumstances, and if it would not be overly burdensome for the employer to implement, then the court is likely to hold that the accommodation is reasonable, and thus that the employer has a duty to implement it.

When refusal becomes discriminatory

If an employer refuses to grant an accommodation to a current employee, their reasoning will likely be that the accommodation was unreasonable – because it was overly burdensome or expensive. If they refuse to make an accommodation in order to hire someone with a special condition, they will likely argue that it is because the person would not be qualified for the position, even with the accommodation.

If this happens to you, and you choose to bring a lawsuit, your attorney will have to prove the employer’s discriminatory intent behind their decision to refuse the accommodation. They will have to show that the accommodation would not be overly burdensome and would not create safety hazards for other employees and that you would be qualified to perform your work duties adequately with the accommodation in place.

If your attorney successfully proves this, then it’s likely that a court will determine that the refusal of the accommodation was discriminatory, and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It is not easy to compete in the workplace with other employees when you have certain conditions that make work more difficult for you. Your right to reasonable accommodations is essential to allow you to enjoy the same access to gainful employment as anyone else.

Your individual circumstances may make it more difficult for you to carry out your work duties than for your co-workers to carry out theirs. This may be caused by a disability, a medical condition, special religious requirements, pregnancy or something else. You have the right to request reasonable accommodations from your employer in order to allow you to perform your job duties despite your complicating individual circumstances. Generally speaking, whether an employer must grant an employee’s requested accommodation depends on whether the requested accommodation is reasonable or not.

What the law requires of employers

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal statute that outlines the responsibilities and obligations of employers when they have an employee with unique circumstances and requirements. The Act gives employees the right to request accommodations of their work duties to fit their circumstances and requires employers to comply with these requests – if they are reasonable.

If a lawsuit arises over whether a certain accommodation request was reasonable or not, courts will typically examine how much hardship and expense the accommodation would cause the employer.

If a requested accommodation would help an employee perform their work duties despite their circumstances, and would not overly burden the employer to implement, then courts are likely to deem the accommodation reasonable and require that an employer implement it.

When refusal becomes discriminatory

Employers refusing to grant accommodations often argue that they should not be required to implement such changes because the accommodation is either unreasonable as it is overly burdensome or expensive, or it is inadequate as the requesting employee would not be qualified for their position, even with the accommodation.

If your requested accommodation is denied, and you choose to bring a lawsuit, you will have to prove that your requested accommodation would not be overly burdensome and that you would be qualified to perform your work duties adequately with the accommodation in place.

It is not easy to compete in the workplace with other employees when you have certain conditions that make work more difficult for you. Your right to reasonable accommodations is essential to allow you to enjoy the same access to gainful employment as anyone else.

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