Employees with disabilities enjoy certain protections meant to ensure equal employment opportunities.
One aspect of these protections is the concept of reasonable accommodation in the workplace, which often comes with questions.
1. What is reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is a legal requirement in California under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. It refers to modifications or adjustments made by employers to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to employment opportunities. These accommodations enable employees with disabilities to perform their job duties effectively.
2. What are the qualifying requirements?
Reasonable accommodation applies to individuals with disabilities, which the FEHA defines as a physical or mental impairment that limits a major life activity. California law also protects individuals perceived as having a disability or who have a history of such impairments. The individual must also possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the position in question.
3. What are the types of reasonable accommodations?
A reasonable accommodation can come in many forms. According to a recent study, nearly half of employers surveyed reported the accommodations made cost nothing to implement. Depending on the situation, it could be as simple as modifying or reorganizing job duties, allowing for modified work hours or break times, providing assistive devices or software to aid employees, or installing ramps, widening doorways or making restrooms wheelchair accessible.
While employers must provide reasonable accommodations, there are limits. If an accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer, they may not have to provide it. However, employers must prove this undue hardship with concrete evidence.