What is Not Considered a Reasonable Accommodation
Overly burdensome actions or changes will not be considered reasonable accommodations in New York City workplaces. Federal, state, and local laws generally require your employer to provide a reasonable accommodation when you are able to do the job but face barriers in the workplace due to a disability. What the state or federal court will consider “reasonable” depends on the specific law that covers your employer and your employer’s resources, as well as your limitations and your qualifications to do the job. If you believe your employer improperly evaluated your request for a reasonable accommodation, you should discuss your situation with Phillips & Associates. Our legal team of many seasoned New York City employment discrimination lawyers, with significant accolades and a record of success, represents clients on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not be paid our attorneys’ fees in your case unless we obtain a settlement or verdict. We also provide free consultations. Before taking a case, we determine whether there is a strong argument that a reasonable accommodation should have been provided under one of the applicable laws. We may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages for your employer’s failure to accommodate your disability.Reasonable Accommodations in New York Workplaces
Federal, state, and local laws provide that a covered employer should provide reasonable accommodations unless providing the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. These laws are interpreted slightly differently by courts. The federal law that protects disabled workers is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, it only applies to those employers who have at least 15 employees. You may more readily find an accommodation for your disability under state or local laws, which cover smaller companies. The New York State Human Rights Law requires that employers that hire independent contractors to those workers if disabled. The New York City Human Rights Law provides that your employer must provide a reasonable accommodation if it has at least four employees.
Each of these laws require your employer to talk with you about your request for a reasonable accommodation, but the exact parameters of the discussion are different, depending on the law being applied to the case. Under the city law, your employer must not only engage in dialogue with you about your limitations but must also provide written notification of whether or not you’ll be provided with the reasonable accommodation at the end of the process.What is Not Considered a Reasonable Accommodation Under State Law
Our lawyers evaluate whether you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal, state or local laws. Under state law, the following are not reasonable accommodations:
- Providing a personal care assistant
- Personal aids unrelated to work such as wheelchairs or glasses
- Any accommodation that is unreasonable given the employer’s particular circumstances and operations, such that it would pose an undue hardship.
Every case must be analyzed on its own terms. For example, if you are a rare books librarian who is becoming near-sighted, it will not be your employer’s responsibility to obtain bifocals. For another example, if you are 1 of 3 clerks in a small liquor store that is a sole proprietorship, and you need to go to doctor’s appointments every day due as an accommodation for a disabling medical condition, the court will look at whether or not the accommodation is reasonable.
To determine whether an accommodation is unreasonable under the circumstances, the court will consider these factors:
- Benefit or efficacy given by providing the accommodation and removing performance impediments caused by a disability.
- Convenience or reasonableness of the accommodation for the employer including comparative convenience as opposed to other possible accommodations and hardships.
In deciding whether an accommodation would result in an undue hardship under state law, the court will consider all factors that are relevant including:
- The overall size of the enterprise, program of business with regard to the number of employees and kind of facilities and budget size.
- The type of operation which the program, business or enterprise is involved in including the structure and composition of the workforce.
- The cost and nature of the accommodation needed, including consideration of funds available from elsewhere that would help to pay for the accommodation.
In some cases, an employer improperly claims that providing a reasonable accommodation would present an undue hardship. It may argue that what you’ve requested as an accommodation for your disability is not reasonable. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, your employer will need to communicate with you orally or in writing about:
- Your accommodation needs
- Potential accommodations including any alternatives
- Challenges the proposed accommodations can present for an employer.
Accommodations that may not be reasonable are:
- Indefinite leave
- Long-term leave
- Making overly expensive modifications to your work area
- Providing/hiring an assistant to help you at work
- Creating a new position for you.
You may be wondering whether what you’ve requested is a reasonable accommodation for your disability. As a layperson, you may not be sure whether your New York City employer’s denial of your request was appropriate and whether you are being treated fairly. You may feel you are jeopardizing your livelihood if you try to push for an accommodation you need. If you are a disabled worker who is worried about whether your request for an accommodation is reasonable, you should call our seasoned attorneys. Phillips & Associates is a plaintiff’s firm that fights for disabled workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County or Suffolk County. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form for a free consultation.