Can an Employer Deny a Reasonable Accommodation in New York City?
No, your employer cannot deny you a reasonable accommodation in New York City. Federal, state and local laws require your employer to accommodate you by adjusting the work environment or policies if you have a disability as these laws define it. If you are denied a reasonable accommodation, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages. Most people are not sure whether they have a case when their employers deny them reasonable accommodations. You should discuss your situation with a legal team that understands the nuances of the employment discrimination law and can fight for you effectively in court. If you are a disabled worker who was denied a reasonable accommodation by an employer, the seasoned New York City disability discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates may be able to represent you. Our firm may be able to represent you in a retaliation claim if you were terminated or otherwise penalized by your employer for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
Our firm provides free consultations. Understanding that your situation may be precarious, we represent clients on a contingency fee basis. At the free consultation, we will ask questions to determine whether you have a sound basis to sue. If we take your case, we will not be paid until we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. While an outcome cannot be guaranteed in litigation, we work hard to make sure our clients receive a fair settlement or verdict. We’ve recovered more than $110 million for our clients.
Attorneys to Seek Damages After Denial of Reasonable Accommodation
As a disabled worker, you may need a reasonable accommodation for your qualifying disability. Your employer can deny you a reasonable accommodation only if providing it would present an undue hardship. Your employer need not provide a reasonable accommodation if to do so would be extremely burdensome given the employer’s circumstances. However, many employers unfairly deny accommodations they should provide. Your employer can’t refuse to provide you with an accommodation only because it has a cost; generally, the overall resources of the business will need to be considered in determining whether the accommodation is feasible.
Once you bring up your disability and need for an accommodation, your employer or prospective employer should engage in an interactive process with you. In the process, the company must try to figure out whether you’d be able to do the job if the workplace were adjusted in some way. The parameters of this interactive process are slightly different under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Under city law, for instance, your employer needs to conclude this process by providing written notification of whether or not it is providing the accommodation.
Your employer can also discuss with you whether a similar accommodation to the one you initially requested would work. Your employer is not required to provide you with the exact accommodation you request. Rather, through the interactive process, the employer should figure out what your limitations are and what actions it could feasibly take to address those limitations. Your employer can only deny a reasonable accommodation after engaging in a good-faith dialogue and determining it is not feasible to provide any accommodation.
Essential Job Functions
Employers don’t need to remove any essential job functions in order to accommodate you. Rather, if they can remove a barrier to you functioning in a job when you are qualified, they should. Likewise, your employer doesn’t need to alter any requirements of the job that are integral to operations in order to accommodate your disability. However, you do need to be considered a qualified person in order to receive the reasonable accommodation. An employer can deny you a job if you are not a qualified worker under federal, state, or local laws.
Your employer can also deny you a reasonable accommodation if providing the accommodation would present an undue hardship. What constitutes an undue hardship depends on the particular law being applied. Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer can show an accommodation presents an undue hardship if it would be extensive, unduly costly, disruptive and substantially or would fundamentally change the nature or operations of the business.
Under state law, an undue hardship involves significant difficulty or expense to an employer. Relevant factors can include:
- Overall size of the business, enterprise or program
- Types of operation with which the enterprise, program or business is engaged
- Nature and cost of the accommodation including consideration of money available from other sources to help the employer.
The city law provides that the following factors should be considered when determining whether there is an undue hardship:
- What the accommodation is and how much it would cost.
- The overall financial resources of the facility involved.
- How many people it employs at the facility.
- The impact on expenses or resources.
- The impact of the accommodation on how the facility operates.
Proving a Lawsuit for Failure to Accommodate
What our attorneys must prove to establish your right to damages in a failure to accommodate case depends on the law in question. Under city law, you will need to show the following in order to establish discrimination for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation:
- You have a disability
- Your employer knew or should have known about your disability
- The accommodation would have allowed you to enjoy the right or rights in question or do the essential job tasks for the particular job
- Your employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation.
Once our attorneys establish a prima facie case, your employer’s legal team will need to establish that the potential accommodation presents an undue hardship and there were no other accommodations available that wouldn’t also present an undue hardship. Failure to accommodate is its own distinct claim under city law; however, it can also implicate a disparate impact claim for disability discrimination.
Hire Our Legal Team
Phillips & Associates is a New York City disability discrimination firm that represents workers unfairly denied reasonable accommodations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County or Suffolk County. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form. Our trial lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis.