Reasonable Accommodations and why they are often not made

Equal access to employment is not only crucial to an individual’s independence and self-worth but is a legally protected right. When there is a barrier to employment or job performance that is created by a disability, employers can lower or remove that barrier by providing reasonable accommodation to the employee.What is a Reasonable Accommodation?A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or change to some part of the job, work environment, or hiring process. These modifications are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and they enable individuals with disabilities to have equal opportunities at work and to perform the duties of their jobs.What are Commonly Requested Accommodations?While every individual is different and will be best accommodated based on their disability, job tasks, and preferences, there are some common requests. These include accessible parking for employees who cannot walk or traverse long distances, computer software for people with visual impairments, ergonomic desks or chairs for workers with back problems, or flexible scheduling to account for a variety of needs.Telework and flexible work schedules are common because of the wide range of disabilities that can be accommodated with this type of change.Reassignment to a new position within the company is also sometimes...

What is employment law?

What is Employment Law?Employment law regulates employers’ treatment of employees.It says that employers can’t discriminate against employees because of race, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, religion or disability. It says that supervisors cannot sexually harass women at work. It says that employers must afford reasonable accommodations to qualified persons with physical or mental impairments. And it says that employers cannot retaliate against anyone for complaining about discrimination or standing up against discrimination or harassment at work. Employment law, in essence, is the law that imports our basic civil rights as Americans into our capitalist, corporate economy.Where would we be without the great civil rights laws? We’d be in a country like Russia, where employers can sexually harass employees with impunity, fire someone when he turns 50, refuse to hire someone in a wheelchair, or punish someone for opposing discrimination at work.Employment law broadly encompasses the areas of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, race discrimination, disability discrimination, religious discrimination, age discrimination, medical leave, FMLA leave, status-based negative stereotypes, and retaliation. The employment laws create important rights that can be enforced in court and provide remedies such as damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, attorney fees and...

Medical leave as a reasonable accommodation

We often receive calls from employees and employers about unpaid medical leave from work. Callers want to know whether an employee who has a serious health condition under the FMLA, but who cannot return to work after 12 weeks of FMLA leave, has any additional legal protections. The answer is that it depends. Many court cases recognize that finite and short additional periods of unpaid medical leave beyond the 12 weeks afforded by the FMLA can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Employers who receive requests for additional unpaid medical leave should ask appropriate questions to determine the length of additional leave the employee is seeking, the likelihood that the additional leave will enable the employee to return to work, and how other employees who require leave for reasons unrelated to health or disability are treated. In the run of cases, finite and short periods of additional medical leave are a reasonable form of accommodation, particularly when the prognosis for recovery is favorable. This means that in many situations, an employer will be required to grant the request for additional unpaid medical leave, provided it does not impose or create an undue hardship. Of course, every...