The Proper  Steps to Take When Your Employer Refuses to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

February 7, 2019

Both federal and certain state law provide that employers have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to their employees if they are requested. It is not uncommon for employees who are suffering from a certain disability or those who have recently become pregnant to request certain accommodations. On the federal level, these employee protections are provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations Work

Generally, employers are legally mandated to work with their employees in providing them reasonable accommodations. For example, an employee whose just involves lifting heavy objects is injured in the workplace their doctor might require them to stop lifting heavy objects for a set amount of time. As such, their employer has a legal duty to accommodate that employee and provide them with different tasks that don’t require them to do heavy lifting. Similarly, an employee who is pregnant and cannot stay standing for long periods of time may need to be accommodate with more frequent breaks.

Some employees may also request reasonable accommodations due to religious needs as well. Oftentimes, religious-based reasonable accommodations are relevant when  it comes to attire in the workplace. Some religious practices require longer hair or to wear certain types of clothing. Once again, employers are generally required to provide for these accommodations.

When Can an Employer Deny a Reasonable Accommodation?

Only under certain circumstances can an employer deny providing their employees with reasonably requested accommodations. An employer is not required to provide a reasonable accommodation is when doing so would cause the business undue hardship. An accommodation is deemed to cause undue hardship when it causes the employer significant difficulty or expense.

Undue hardship is generally defined as an action that places significant challenge and expense on an employer. As such, an accommodation becomes an undue hardship to the business when the cost and practical implications of accommodating a disabled worker are too difficult to implement. This is generally measured on a case by case basis. However, there are several factors that are considered when determining whether an accommodation is reasonable or not. The considerations include the cost and nature of request for accommodation, practicability and health and safety requirements. If the costs of making a accommodation is too expensive or too impractical then the employer may be able to avoid doing so.

When Can I Do If My Employer Denies a Reasonable Accommodation?

If you feel as though your employer has denied you an accommodation which you feel is reasonable, there are certain steps you can take. First, you seek to put your request in writing. No matter the employer, it is generally good rule of thumb to put any requests or complaints in writing. In terms of the law, having these requests in writing is vitally important. It eliminates any chance of your employer denying the fact that you ever made a request for accommodation from them. Next, you should likely fin an attorney who experience in employment and labor law. An attorney who has the proper experience on topic can provide you with important guidance on what steps to take. You  should then seek to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC will take you through an intake process in which you will provide them with details of your circumstances. The EEOC will then likely conduct an investigation in to your claims.  The EEOC finds merit to your claims they can provide you with a Notice of Right to Sue, which will then allow you file a legal claim in court.

If you feel as though you have denied a request for a reasonable accommodation you should consider finding an attorney who is experienced in labor law. The laws governing this area are complex. There are strict regulations governing the process for filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice. Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.