Will your boss accommodate your disability?

| Mar 26, 2018 | Workplace Discrimination |

Your disability already complicates many activities other people may take for granted. Whether you have a physical or mental impairment, every day brings challenges and obstacles. Perhaps your disability is obvious, for example, if you use a wheelchair. However, you may be one of many who suffer from invisible impairments such as diabetes, bipolar disorder or hypertension.

No matter your health issues, you want to work, and with a few reasonable accommodations, you are able to perform the tasks associated with your chosen field. When Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, they required employers to make those accommodations for anyone who would subsequently be able to complete the  tasks required by the job.

Examples of reasonable accommodations

If you are qualified by education, skill and experience to perform the tasks of the job even if you need some level of adjustment, your employer must make those accommodations, provided there are at least 15 people working as employees of the company. Examples of accommodations an employer may make include the following:

  • Arranging the work area to accommodate your wheelchair
  • Purchasing or modifying equipment for visual or auditory disabilities
  • Relieving you of minor tasks that are not essential functions of your position
  • Permitting you to occasionally work from home or telecommute
  • Allowing a more flexible schedule for medical appointments or therapies
  • Allowing extra unpaid leave days if you exhaust paid leave

Accommodations may not present a hardship to your employer. For example, an accommodation that would be inordinately expensive to your employer or create a danger or distraction to the other employees may not be reasonable. Additionally, an employer does not have to accept dangerous or inappropriate workplace behavior as a way of accommodating a disability.

What to do if your employer refuses

The point of allowing accommodations is to offer you and others with disabilities a fair opportunity to earn a living at a job for which you are qualified. Despite your disability, no employer can refuse to hire, promote, or offer you equal benefits or provide a work environment free from harassment simply because of your disability.

If an employer has denied you a job or fired you because of requests for accommodations you feel are reasonable, you may have cause to take legal action. This is not an easy thing to do, and the legal process matters. Speak with an attorney if you think you have been treated in a way that is inconsistent with the law.

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