What is Reasonable Accommodation at Work?

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: September 30, 2020

Employees deserve the right to work even if they have certain medical disabilities.

In California, reasonable accommodation law states that employers must provide adjustments so employees with disabilities can continue to perform essential job functions. Unless the employer can prove that the adjustments will cause undue hardship, reasonable accommodations must be provided.

Undue hardship means that the employer would go through significant difficult or financial expenses to provide the accommodation. Generally, several factors will be used to determine whether an undue hardship exists including the nature of the accommodation, overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business, and the type of operations.

Definition of Disability Under California Law

Although employers must provide reasonable accommodations, they are not required to accommodate every single medical condition. To qualify for protection under reasonable accommodation laws, certain conditions must be met. Generally, a condition can be considered a disability if it limits a major life activity.

Under the law, a major life activity includes basic life functions (such as eating, sleeping, or walking), social activities, physical activity, mental activities, or work.

Disabilities that require accommodation generally fall into one of two main categories: physical and mental or psychological disabilities.

An employee can be considered to have a physical disability if he or she has a bodily condition or disfigurement that affects one or more major body systems. Other conditions include any health impairment that would require special services or education. If an employee has a history or record of a condition, disease, disorder, health impairment, or cosmetic disfigurement, he or she can also be considered to have a physical disability.

Examples of physical disabilities include carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or back pain.

Mental or psychological disabilities include but are not limited to mental or emotional illness, intellectual disabilities, and learning disabilities that limit a major life activity.

Examples of mental or psychological disabilities include anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

The topic of reasonable accommodation can be extremely complicated and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. While each specific situation may vary, some examples of reasonable accommodations at work include offering flexible work schedules, allowing employees to take time off for doctor’s appointments, providing wheelchair access at a worksite, or modifying certain workplace equipment to accommodate an employee’s medical condition. Restructuring a job description to eliminate non-essential work functions can also be considered an example of reasonable accommodation.

But if your employer has failed to provide you with reasonable accommodation at work, you have the right to file a claim.

Contact a Reasonable Accommodation Attorney Today

California employees have a right to receive reasonable accommodations that enable them to work. If your employer has denied you reasonable accommodation for your medical condition, you have the right to file a reasonable accommodation discrimination claim. Our Los Angeles discrimination attorneys have over two decades of experience fighting for employee rights and can help get you the justice you deserve. Contact Mesriani Law Group today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.