Some of the most qualified employees have disabilities that prevent them from working a standard schedule, using a computer without eyesight specific software, or getting up a flight of stairs. There is no reason that a fully qualified employee, who will become or has already been an asset to an employer, should be denied employment, a raise, or equal opportunities simply for requesting a reasonable accommodation to be made for a disability. Furthermore, an employee’s request should not be denied if it truly something that he or she needs to perform the job, and is not out of an employer’s financial scope of providing. Here at HKM Employment Attorneys, we fight for employees with disabilities so that they have the same employment opportunities as everyone else. This means that all reasonable accommodation requests should be taken into serious consideration by your employer, and that you deserve to be listened to throughout any such process.
Who is Eligible for Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protections for disabled workers, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC) enforces these rights. According to the EEOC, in order to be protected under the ADA, an applicant or an employee must be “qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.” This means that the employee or applicant must be able to satisfy the job requirements for education, skills, licensing, employment history, and other qualifications. The employee or applicant must also be able to perform essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. However, the following questions must be asked in regards to what an “essential function” of the job is:
- Does the position exist to perform that function?
- Are there other employees who could perform the function or help with that function?
- What is the degree of expertise or skill required to perform that function?
Quite often, an employee is fully capable of performing all of the functions of his or her job, and the issue is something that gets in the way of working. Take, for example, a wheelchair ramp. An employee can perform all of the position’s essential functions because being able to get into the office is not an essential function of the job, but it is required to fulfill the job duties. In this case, the employee would be protected under the ADA and would likely prevail in a reasonable accommodation request. However, one other aspect of a reasonable accommodation is the financial resources of the employer. Every request must take into account the ability of the employer to pay for or accommodate the said request.
A Pennsylvania Employment Law Attorney can Help
13.4% of Pennsylvania’s population has at least one disability, according to Cornell University Disability Status Report. Having a disability is no rarity, and it should come as no surprise or shock to an employer that they have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations when requested by their employees. If you have been denied your request, retaliated against, or denied employment altogether, a lawyer may help right this wrong. Reach out to the Pennsylvania law offices of HKM Employment Attorneys today for assistance.