Having a disability cannot be used against a capable employee when it comes to his or her employment. Employers are legally bound by federal law to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees so that they may perform their work to their full potential. Sadly, many employers do not want to take the time or resources to address accommodations, such as putting in a hand railing in a bathroom stall or replacing a door knob with a handle. If your employer has failed to meet any of your needs, or has fired or demoted you for demanding certain accommodations, you need to consult with an attorney at once.
Three Types of Reasonable Accommodations
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which states that employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for disabled employees unless doing so would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation includes “any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.” There are three categories of accommodations, according to the Office of Disability Rights, as defined below:
- No-tech: Accommodations that do not cost very much money (or none at all), such as support and time.
- Low-tech: Accommodations that are simple or unsophisticated and are available at most places of work, such as providing a magnifier or solid-color carpeting for those with poor balance;
- High-tech: Accommodations that are advanced or sophisticated, such as a screen reader with sophisticated speech for a blind employee.
Employers must provide these accommodations unless they can prove that those changes would cause “undue hardship.” An undue hardship could be too cost prohibitive, a danger to the employee and others, or beyond the capability of the company to provide (a small mom and pop store may not have the resources to purchase sophisticated software, while a fortune 500 could easily make that accommodation).
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
There are many types of reasonable accommodations that employers make for their disabled employees, including the following:
- Part time or modified work schedule;
- Moving furniture out of the way of employees who use wheelchairs;
- Altering management techniques;
- Reassigning the employee to a vacant position;
- Making small changes to an office, such as providing a space enclosure or more ergonomic workstation/equipment;
- Making equipment or software purchases; and
- Changing the way the employee performs the job without altering the end work.
Call an Employment Attorney Today for Legal Guidance
If you have a disability, you have the education, skills, and ability to accomplish your job requirements, and you can perform the job with or without a reasonable accommodation, you qualify for reasonable accommodations to be made. If your employer has failed to provide an accommodation, you have the right to file a discrimination lawsuit. Contact the St. Louis lawyers of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional.