Monday, October 27, 2008

ADA Provisions on Reasonable Accommodation

A disabled employee or worker has certain privileges that other employees do not normally enjoy, even before being hired and when is employed. Reasonable accommodation is a right guaranteed by law to individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The article, “Five Questions Regarding Reasonable Accommodation Employers Should Know”, posted on October 14, 2008, answers some of the questions regarding reasonable accommodation, how to handle a request and identifies some of its common forms.

However, the reasonable accommodation that the law provides has certain limitation to employers. According to law, a disabled employee can be granted this privilege provided it will not cause “undue hardship” to an employer.

Undue hardship means “a significant difficulty or expense and focuses on the resources and circumstances of the particular employer in relationship to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation”. It refers not only to financial difficulty but also to reasonable accommodations that are “unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business”.

Under the ADA, when a request for reasonable accommodation has been made, an employer – if it will not cause him undue hardship - has no recourse but to grant the request.

Reasonable accommodation can take the following form:

• Modification or adjustment in a job application process or during the hiring process

• Modification or adjustment to the work environment

• Modification or adjustments to enable a disabled employee to have equal benefits and privileges as those employees without disabilities

A disabled employee who encounters difficulty seeking modification or adjustments in his job should immediately consult with an employment lawyer regarding possible violations of this ADA provision.