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When Can a Reasonable Accommodation Be Denied?

A reasonable accommodation can be denied by an employer if providing you with it would present an undue hardship to the company. However, some employers deny reasonable accommodations inappropriately and don’t understand their significant obligations to employees, especially discussing what accommodations would remove workplace barriers and determine what accommodations would be feasible. If you were denied a reasonable accommodation for your disability, and believe you were entitled to one, you should consult Phillips & Associates about whether we can help you with your case. Your employer does not have to provide you with a reasonable accommodation if providing it would present an undue hardship. However, you should be aware that employers may not always make these assessments fairly or, more importantly, they may try to figure out ways in which you are now not qualified for the job.

Some unscrupulous employers retaliate against workers who need accommodations by writing negative performance reports about them. It is important to retain an attorney who has experience evaluating a case under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), and understands the strategy required to pursue damages in court. The seasoned New York City disability discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates may be able to represent you. Understanding that it is difficult to know whether you have a case, we provide free consultations. If you were denied a reasonable accommodation, you should consult us about whether you have grounds to recover damages for your employer’s failure to accommodate you. Unlike some other firms that charge their clients by the hour, we represent disabled workers of all kinds on a contingency fee basis.

New York City Attorneys for Failure to Accommodate

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to jobs, work environments, or hiring procedures. Whether your employer appropriately denied your reasonable accommodation depends on a range of factors.

Qualified Workers

The first step is generally to look at whether you were a qualified worker as this is defined under federal, state, or local laws. Under the ADA, you are a qualified individual with a disability entitled to a reasonable accommodation if you:

  • Satisfy legitimate skill, education, experience or other requirements of a job you hold or seek.
  • And you can perform essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

You should not be considered unqualified under the ADA because your disability prevents you from performing marginal or incidental job functions. However, a company can choose to select the person it believes is most qualified based on reasons not related to the existence or consequence of a disability. For instance, if you have a history of cancer, and your career has been limited to working as an administrator in small accounting firms for a few years, but another job applicant who has no disability has spent decades in a large prestigious accounting firm with higher workloads, then the company can hire that other applicant if that type of work history is what’s needed to successfully carry out essential job tasks.

Could You Do the Job With Reasonable Accommodations?

Assuming you’re a qualified worker, the second step under the ADA is to look at whether you could do that job with a reasonable accommodation. Generally, if your employer prepared a written job description, and used it as an ad or to attract workers to interviews, your employer’s document can serve as useful evidence about what are the essential job functions for your job. Our experienced attorneys can also seek other evidence in the course of discovery to support our argument that you were a qualified worker who could have done the essential functions of the job had your employer accommodated you.

Interactive Dialogue

Once your employer is aware you need a reasonable accommodation, it should engage in an interactive dialogue with you. Every law provides for slightly different rules for engaging in this dialogue. Under the ADA, this is called an interactive good faith process. The New York State Human Rights and the New York City Human Rights Law have similar requirements.

You should not be denied a reasonable accommodation without having this kind of dialogue. If you are, it’s important to seek knowledgeable attorneys about whether the conversation your employer had with you prior to denying you a reasonable accommodation was appropriate and how you can document your case to give it the best chance of success in court.

Undue Hardship

An employer may say it cannot provide a reasonable accommodation because it would pose an undue hardship. However, a slight cost may not be considered an “undue hardship” under federal, state, or local laws.

Consult a Seasoned Disability Discrimination Lawyer

You can only be denied a reasonable accommodation when your employer is able to show it causes an undue hardship to provide one. It’s important to be aware that your employer should work with you to figure out what adjustments are feasible for an employer to provide that would also allow you to do a job for which you are qualified. If you’re wondering when a reasonable accommodation can be denied in New York City workplaces, you should call our seasoned employment discrimination 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.

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