What Is a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

Reasonable accommodations include changes to the job application or hiring process, alterations in the way a job is done, or modifications to the work environment that allow a qualified worker who has a disability to have equal opportunities in the workplace. Accommodations are only deemed reasonable under federal, state, and local laws when they don’t generate an undue hardship or direct threat to operations. If you are concerned about your employer’s denial of a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, you should discuss your situation with the experienced New York City disability discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates. Our firm understands that you may have a reduced or nonexistent income because of your inability to receive the reasonable accommodation you need as a disabled or differently abled person. We know this can be extremely stressful. We can’t in good conscience ask you to pay us on an hourly basis when you are hit by circumstances like these. Accordingly, we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. Our legal team won’t get paid unless we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. You should call us to determine whether you have a case under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Reasonable Accommodation Under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law that prohibits disability discrimination in New York City if your employer has at least 15 employees. Under the ADA, your employer must provide you with a reasonable accommodation if you have a disability, unless it would present an undue hardship for it to do so. However, the ADA can sometimes be strict and conservative in its definitions of “disability,” “reasonable accommodations,” and “undue hardship.” Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation when it wouldn’t have presented an undue hardship can be the basis of a lawsuit.

Qualified Workers Who Need Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA

You’ll be considered qualified under the ADA if you possess the experience, skills, and/or education for the New York City job. In order to show you were improperly denied a reasonable accommodation, our lawyers must also be able to show you could perform essential job tasks with or without an accommodation.

Examples of accommodations under the ADA may include:

  • Restructuring of jobs by allowing a 10-hour or 4-day workweek so you can get weekly medical treatments.
  • Transfer to the same job in a different location to get better medical care.
  • Modification of exams and training materials by allowing more time to take an exam or permitting testing orally instead of in writing.
  • Ensuring disabled employees are able to use existing facilities.
  • Hiring readers or interpreters to help an employee.
  • Giving temporary workplace specialists the chance to help in training.
  • Longer rest breaks.

Your New York City employer is not required to grant an accommodation that would present an undue hardship. A substantial hardship may be measured in terms of difficulty level or cost. However, once our lawyers make a prima facie case, it is the employer’s burden to show that providing a reasonable accommodation is too expensive or would disrupt operations too much. Courts may consider:

  • The cost of the accommodation and the nature of the accommodation?
  • Your employer’s financial resources?
  • The nature of your business operations including their structure, composition and size.
  • Any accommodation costs already incurred in a workplace.

You need to make a good faith effort to comply with any of your employer’s reasonable requests.

Interactive Good Faith Process

Once made aware of your disability, your employer should engage with you in an interactive good faith process to determine what accommodations might work for you. In order to get a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, you need to be able to perform essential job tasks with or without an accommodation. At an initial free consultation, our trial attorneys will evaluate whether your employer engaged in the proper good faith interactive process.

To conduct an appropriate good faith exploration of whether you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA’s definition and what that accommodation should be, your employer is entitled to ask some questions. Your employer should look at the request made; however, whether a specific accommodation is reasonable depends on your job and the way your specific disability impacts your ability to do the job.

Examples of reasonable accommodations under the ADA, depending on the circumstances may include:

  • You have Type 1 diabetes and need more frequent breaks to take your medication than are provided for by your employer’s ordinary policies.
  • You are paraplegic and need policy shifts that would allow you to perform your job duties.
  • You have an impairment that affects your breathing and need schedule changes to accommodate a surgery necessary schedule, but you aren’t eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The ADA may allow you take leave.

If your employer refuses to engage with you after you ask for a reasonable accommodation, you should put your request in writing and also create a journal or diary of the events as they transpire. Our attorneys may be able to use your contemporaneous journal and correspondence down the road in the event that your employer fails to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or you are retaliated against for asking for a reasonable accommodation.

Consult a Seasoned Disability Discrimination Law Firm

If you’re wondering what a reasonable accommodation is under the ADA and whether you can be denied one by a New York City employer, you should call our seasoned employment discrimination attorneys. Phillips & Associates is a plaintiff’s firm. We leave no stone unturned to fight for disabled workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County or Suffolk County. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form for a free consultation.

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