Disabled employees have certain rights in the workplace, including the right to certain types of accommodations that will allow them to do their jobs well. As an employer, you know that accommodating the needs of certain employees is essential, but you also know that this can be a costly and complicated endeavor in some cases. It is beneficial to know how you can support employees while still protecting the interests of your company at the same time.
Some of the specific details you need to know as an employer include what falls under the category of reasonable accommodations, and what your requirements are as an employer. This information is critical in both the avoidance of potential lawsuits and the protection of the well-being of your employees. Failure to give the matter appropriate attention could lead to complications for your company, including litigation.
What is it, and who gets one?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a reasonable accommodation is a change to certain aspects of a job that allows someone with disabilities to perform his or her duties. This could include changes in the application process, adjustments with the hiring process, changes in the way a job is done or changes to the work environment itself. The specific accommodations an employee may need depend on his or her needs and how they impact physical and mental capabilities.
As an employer, you do not have to provide accommodations to any individual who does not have a legitimate disability. Accommodations considered reasonable include the use of service animals, accessible parking, reassignment, reorganization of tasks, equipment change and more. The ADA describes a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”. In order to qualify for a job, an individual must be able to perform essential job functions.
Adherence and protection
Adherence to the ADA requirements for reasonable accommodations is a critical step for all employers, and meeting the needs of your employees is a good practice. This protects you against the possibility of lawsuits and other complications that can affect the well-being of your company. If an accommodation request is unreasonable or places an unmanageable burden on your company, you may benefit from an evaluation of your case and an assessment of the legal options that are available to you.