A person’s disability changes the way that they interact with the world, and this is just as true in the workplace as it is in other areas of their life. Thankfully, the law requires employers to provide disabled workers with “reasonable accommodations” to allow them to pursue a career. What should you know about this requirement?
What accommodations might a worker need?
As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes, providing disabled workers with equal opportunities sometimes requires employers to provide accommodations to disabled workers. An accommodation can include any adjustment that helps a disabled worker perform their work.
Because each person’s disability impacts their life and work in different ways, the accommodations they need can vary. Some forms that disability accommodations can take include:
- Providing a wheelchair user with a different desk than their coworkers to make their workspace more accessible
- Offering a flexible work schedule to accommodate medical appointments
- Reassigning a worker to a different position that is a better fit for their physical needs
- Providing deaf or hard of hearing people with an interpreter during meetings
- Allowing a worker to sit at their workstation when this might not otherwise be allowed
Can employers refuse to accommodate an employee’s needs?
The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to their workers. However, they can refuse an accommodation that would create an undue hardship for the business because of cost, impact on a business’s operations or other factors. However, in many cases, employers may be able to reach a fair compromise that supports disabled employees’ needs.
If an employer refused to provide you with reasonable accommodations in the workplace, you may want to explore your legal options. A claim may help you protect your career and ensure that your needs are met.