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What Constitutes Reasonable Accommodation for Disabilities?



It’s been almost thirty years since the American Disabilities Act was put into law, in those thirty years, we’ve seen massive progress in the protection of disabled individuals, but we’ve also learned just how complicated and murky the waters of disability and employment can be. California has similar laws in place to further strengthen employment for disabled workers under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.


One of the stickiest areas of contention can be the requirement that an employer provides reasonable accommodation for a disabled employee so long as it doesn’t cause undue financial hardship. If you think reasonable accommodation consists of just a handicapped bathroom stall and a wheelchair ramp, think again.


Those are necessary, of course, as is widening hallways or creating accessible paths for employees in a business. But it might also include allowances for sounds or lighting. Or maybe it consists of a microphone and speech-to-text software. Things like uniforms may need to be considered or the work schedule. There is a myriad of different ways an employer may be asked to accommodate a disabled employee.


… It is a good idea to request it and sometimes your employer will need to provide it.


An employee requiring accommodations must request it. While you are not required to do so in writing, it is in your interest to provide a written formal request. Letters set a precedent for future requests as well as providing you with a solid foundation of ensuring your position meets your needs.


A letter could include:

  • Your name and position

  • The current date

  • Information about your disability- Keep in mind that while you may request these accommodations, you must be able to perform all of the job duties once they are met.

  • Your requests- Provide insight as to how the accommodations will help mitigate how your disability may affect your performance.

  • You may also choose to include a letter from your doctor.

Just because you request it does not mean you’ll get it.

This is where having an experienced attorney can help. If it takes too long for an employer to provide the accommodations or if you’ve been denied reasonable accommodation, contacting a lawyer can help you pursue further action.


Contact the Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman at 415-545-8608 to schedule your FREE consultation today.

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