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When does an employer have to provide reasonable accommodation?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination |

Employees in California who have disabilities are required to be treated the same as any other employee. However, employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodation for workers who are disabled. There are certain criteria that determine when reasonable accommodation is required.

What is reasonable accommodation?

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on their disability status. If a worker has a disability, they are also due reasonable accommodations so that they can perform their jobs properly and effectively. Certain disability issues can call for such accommodation being made. Employers are not legally permitted to do the following to disabled workers:

  • Limit job opportunities in a way that omits employees with disabilities
  • Work with others specifically to discriminate against disabled employees
  • Use discriminatory means to conduct the treatment of employees
  • Exclude or deny employees with disabilities from obtaining benefits, raises or promotions

Reasonable accommodation involves a modification of a job or the workspace so that an employee with a disability can perform the duties expected of them in their job. Reasonable accommodation can be made through the following:

  • Providing certain equipment or devices or modifying them
  • Modifying work schedules
  • Having readers or interpreters on hand
  • Restructuring jobs
  • Reassigning workers to vacant jobs
  • Making the workplace accessible for individuals with disabilities

Can employers ask questions about a disability?

The ADA protects individuals with disabilities while they are seeking jobs. As a result, it’s illegal for employers to ask questions about disability issues or require people to take medical tests before the employer agrees to hire them. Employers are allowed to ask about a prospective employee’s abilities as long as they’re relevant to the tasks required for the job.

Employers are only allowed to require medical exams for people they hire. However, they would have to require all new hires to undergo medical exams and not just those with disabilities.

If you have an issue with reasonable accommodation at work, you might want to look into your options. A court order might compel your employer to make those accommodations or compensate you for damages.