Five Things That Disabled Workers Should Know About Reasonable Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a United States law that bars disability discrimination in the workplace. It goes beyond merely requiring covered employers to avoid active discrimination on the basis of disability status. The ADA also requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to disabled workers. Here, our Florida disability discrimination lawyer highlights five key things that employees should know about reasonable accommodations and the ADA.
- The ADA Applies to Employers With 15 or More Workers
The ADA does not apply to every employer in Florida. The law covers business, non-profit organizations, and federal, state, and local government entities with 15 or more employees. As a disabled employee in Florida, you have rights under the ADA if your company has at least 15 workers, including part-time employees.
- A Reasonable Accommodation is an Adjustment to Position or Work Environment
A reasonable accommodation is not any one specific thing. Indeed, reasonable accommodations vary widely—including everything from making facilities more accessible to additional leave time to allowance for telework. Ultimately, a reasonable accommodation is some form of adjustment to a position or the work environment that allows a qualified disabled worker to perform the job.
- A Disabled Worker Must Meet the Essential Functions to Be Qualified
The ADA holds that covered employers must make a good faith effort to offer reasonable accommodation to a qualified employee who has a disability. To be deemed qualified under the law, a worker must be able to perform the essential functions of the job. The essential functions are the things that are fundamental to why the position exists in the first place. As a simple example, a person who could not obtain a driver’s license due to their disability is not qualified to work as a bus driver.
- An Accommodation is Reasonable if it Does Not Impose an “Undue Burden”
Under the ADA, a disabled employee is only entitled to receive an accommodation that is “reasonable.” There is an undue burden test to determine the reasonableness of an accommodation. In effect, an employer is not required to offer a disability accommodation if that accommodation would pose an undue burden. What constitutes an undue burden is highly case specific. Many factors will be reviewed, including the financial cost it would put on the employer.
- No Specific Accommodation is Required: The Good Faith Interactive Process
The ADA does not require that employers provide any specific accommodation. Instead, employers must engage in a good faith interactive process with employees to find a reasonable accommodation that actually meets their needs. An accommodation is not good enough if it does not allow a qualified disabled worker to effectively perform in the position.
Get Help From a Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Florida
Disabled employees should receive fair opportunities in the workplace. If you feel that you or your loved one did not receive a proper accommodation given your rights under the ADA, please do not hesitate to contact a disability discrimination lawyer for immediate assistance.