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What is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow a person with disability to do his or her job. Unfortunately, what seems reasonable to an employee may not seem reasonable to an employer.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change to a job or the work environment that allows a qualified person with a disability to do the job. Under the ADA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for both disabled job applicants and people with disabilities already working for the employer.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Adjusting the start time of a job to accommodate medical treatments
  • Providing a disabled employee with an ergonomic chair or tools to accommodate a disability
  • Allowing an employee periodic breaks to accommodate a medical condition

The accommodation must not create an undue hardship for the employer. Nor does it require the employer to reduce quality or production standards. Employers do not have to make accommodations for a person who is not qualified to perform the job.

What if my employer denied my request for an accommodation?

Refusing to grant a reasonable accommodation may be viewed as employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may be entitled to compensation if your employer discriminated against you.

However, the differences between what accommodations are reasonable and which are not are subtle, and it takes an experienced employment law to advise you if you have a case.

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