Information for requesting accommodations in the workplace

| Dec 14, 2015 | Employee Rights |

A California resident who deals with physical limitations may find that obtaining and keeping a job can be challenging. Whether a limitation exists at the time an individual applies for a job or occurs at some point after hiring, requesting accommodations may be intimidating due to a concern over a negative response. An employee may want to keep the medical situation private, but accommodations may be important for ensuring that people are able to perform their work to the best of their ability. A few communication strategies may be helpful for addressing these needs without increasing stigmatization in the work environment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides for certain employee rights, including the requirement that employers make reasonable accommodations for any of their employees affected by a disabling condition. However, these accommodations cannot create an undue hardship for the employer, such as excessive cost. Additionally, the impact of any changes must not have a negative impact on the overall function of the business. In requesting an accommodation, an employee may want to offer solutions that would effectively address their needs without creating significant challenges for the employer.

Timing of a request can be challenging for new employees as well. They may be reluctant to ask for accommodations during the hiring process. However, waiting until after they have been hired might be awkward due to the failure to disclose needs in advance. The law only requires that an employee inform the employer of a needed adjustment. It is not necessary to elaborate on medical conditions to any great extent.

An employee who suffers adverse treatment or termination after requesting accommodations might find that there are grounds for legal action against the employer. In such a situation, it may be helpful to obtain the guidance of an employment law attorney.


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