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What are reasonable accommodations for a disability?

Do you think you need a reasonable accommodation to enable you to work? Or do you want to bring a case against your current or former employer for the denial of a reasonable accommodation? If so, here is what you need to know.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace, or the way things are done in order to enable an employee with a disability to work. The purpose of a reasonable accommodation is to provide equal employment opportunities to people with disabilities. While accommodations will be specific to your disability-based needs, the following are some examples of common accommodations:

  • an alternative schedule,
  • telework,
  • modified job duties,
  • reconfigured or relocated office space,
  • interpreters, and
  • ergonomic modifications.

Does my employer have to give me accommodations?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers, including private sector and state and local government employers with at least 15 employees, and the Federal Government, to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities.

Not every requested accommodation will be considered “reasonable,” and therefore required under the law. But your employer is required to work with you to figure out what accommodations you need through an interactive dialogue.

How do I request reasonable accommodations?

In order to request reasonable accommodations, you need to notify your supervisor that you need a change in the workplace due to a disability.

Does my employer have to give me leave?

Your employer is required to provide you with the same leave as all other employees, regardless of disability. Additional leave can be considered a reasonable accommodation when it would enable an employee to return to work following the period of leave.

What can I do if my employer denies my request?

If your employer fails to provide a reasonable accommodation, or retaliates against you for asking for accommodations, you could request another accommodation and re-start the interactive process. You could also file a lawsuit against your employer, as you may be entitled to damages.

How can an attorney help me with reasonable accommodations?

Hiring an attorney is often advisable if you believe you have been denied a reasonable accommodation in the workplace, or were otherwise discriminated against based on your disability, and want to file a lawsuit against your current or former employer. The ADA includes certain requirements you have to prove in order to show that you were entitled to an accommodation, and that the accommodation you requested was reasonable. An attorney experienced in reasonable accommodation lawsuits can ensure that you fulfill your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and try to get the evidence you need to successfully prove your case.

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