Reasonable Accommodations in New Jersey
Medical conditions and disabilities may present unfair obstacles to qualified but disabled workers in the workplace. However, in many cases, a small adjustment or accommodation would allow a disabled worker to have the same opportunities as a non-disabled worker.
Both federal and state laws permit disabled workers to ask for reasonable accommodations in New Jersey. Your employer is not permitted to punish you or discriminate against you because you have a disability or because asked for a reasonable accommodation. The New Jersey disability discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates may be able to help you recover damages if you were treated differently due to a disability or were unreasonably denied an accommodation or mistreated for requesting an accommodation.Rules Governing Reasonable Accommodations
Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), your employer is supposed to provide a reasonable accommodation if you have a disability unless providing the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. However, not every medical condition counts as a disability under the ADA, and you must otherwise be qualified for the job. You can show that you are disabled under the ADA if you have a condition that significantly limits a major life activity, you have a history of disability, you have a non-transient and non-minor physical or mental impairment, or you are perceived as having a disability.
A reasonable accommodation may include any change to the work environment or non-essential features of the job that would help you apply for the job, perform job duties, or enjoy the benefits of your job. For example, a reasonable accommodation might involve making a worksite accessible for a wheelchair user, providing an ergonomic chair, or allowing an employee breaks to administer insulin shots.Undue Hardship
What is considered an undue hardship varies from employer to employer. Generally, an accommodation is an undue hardship if it is too difficult or expensive to implement based on the size of the employer, its budget, and its business needs. Your employer does not need to give you the precise accommodation that you want under the ADA; if more than one accommodation would work, the employer may decide which of them it will give you.New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”)
The NJLAD also entitles disabled workers to receive reasonable accommodations. It applies to smaller employers, and for many workers seeking to recover damages, it may be a better option than the ADA (which requires at least 15 employees.)
If you ask for a reasonable accommodation for your disability, your employer may request information about your abilities, your need for the accommodation, or request notes/reports from your doctor. Reasonable accommodations might include a modified work schedule, a medical leave of absence, job restructuring, or the use of special equipment or devices.
While a request for a reasonable accommodation need not be in writing to be valid, it may be useful later in a lawsuit to have a written request. If you claim a failure to reasonably accommodate in a New Jersey lawsuit, you will need to establish that:
- You have a disability;
- You are qualified to perform essential job duties with or without the accommodation; and despite this,
- You faced an adverse employment action due to the disability.
If you ask for a reasonable accommodation based on a disability, your employer must act in good faith to try to find an appropriate accommodation, initiating an interactive process to identify which accommodations might work to overcome your limitations.Discuss Your Case with an Employment Lawyer in New Jersey
Each case involving a disability or failure to reasonably accommodate is unique. If you are not provided with a reasonable accommodation, an experienced and aggressive New Jersey attorney may make a difference to your ability to recover damages. The employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are aggressive and knowledgeable. You should contact us as soon as you suspect that you may have a claim. Contact us at (609) 436-9087 or through our online form to set up an appointment. We represent workers in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington and Camden Counties.
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Princeton, NJ 08540