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Reasonable accommodations and disability discrimination

People with disabilities in Washington D.C. often take great pride in being able to support themselves independently. In fact, it is often the case that a disabled person is, with reasonable accommodations, able to perform the same job duties that a non-disabled person is able to. However, there are times when individuals face disability discrimination while on the job.

Under federal law, an employer is required to provide employees who are disabled with the reasonable accommodations the disable employee needs to do his or her job or in other ways receive the privileges and benefits that come along with the job. For example, a reasonable accommodation could be the installation of a wheelchair ramp for an employee who uses a wheelchair, or providing a blind person with a reader.

However, the reasonable accommodation requirement need not be met if meeting it would present the employer with an undue hardship. An undue hardship is an act that would simply be too costly or too difficult to achieve. Factors that will be considered in such situations include how large the employer's business is and what the employer's finances are, along with the employer's business needs. That being said, an employer cannot deny a reasonable accommodation simply because they'd have to pay for it -- the hardship must be undue. If there are two or more options for reasonable accommodations, the employer can decide what type of accommodation to provide to the disabled employee.

Understanding undue hardship and reasonable accommodation is important for disabled individuals. Disabled individuals deserve to be able to hold down a job and remain independent. Oftentimes, it is only a simple accommodation that is needed. Employers must respect this right. If a disabled employee feels that they are being discriminated against, they may be able to pursue legal action.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Disability Discrimination," Accessed June 7, 2015

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