Disability and Reasonable Accommodations

Many people who live with a disability, and even many of those who do not have, heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.  That law is a federal law that provides the basis for many of the protections people with disabilities have in employment.  In addition to that law, Oregon has its own disability protections.  One particular type of protection that comes up in disability law is something called “reasonable accommodations.”

Reasonable Accommodations and Oregon Law

According to Oregon statute, it is the public policy of the State of Oregon to “guarantee individuals the fullest possible participation in the social and economic life of the state [and] to engage in remunerative employment…without discrimination on the basis of disability.”  A person qualifies as having a disability if:

  • The individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual;
  • The individual has a record of having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual. For the purposes of this paragraph, an individual has a record of having a physical or mental impairment if the individual has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual; or
  • The individual is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual.

If a person has a qualifying disability, an employer commits unlawful discrimination if the employer does not make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual who is a job applicant or employee, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business operation of the employer.  Under Oregon Revised Statute 659A.118, a reasonable accommodation may include:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
  • Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules or reassignment to a vacant position;
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
  • Appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations, training materials or policies; or
  • The provision of qualified readers or interpreters.

Reasonable Accommodations and Federal Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act only applies in the employment context to employers with 15 or more employees.  Much like Oregon state law, it requires employers to make reasonable accommodations.  However, the timeline in which you can make a complaint under the federal law may be as short as 180 days under certain circumstances.  So it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to make sure you do not give up any of your possible remedies.

Contacting the Employment Attorneys at HKM

If you or someone you love is fighting for a reasonable accommodation or you have been fired or disciplined for requesting a reasonable accommodation you should contact an attorney immediately. The lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP are ready to discuss your case today. Call us at (503)389-1130.