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Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities

The majority of people in California are healthy, can see well, walk normally and have full use of both their arms. However, there are many others who have disabilities. People with disabilities may have difficulties performing certain physical tasks, but they are more than capable mentally to perform the same tasks as those without disabilities. However, in order to do these tasks they may need some physical accommodations to perform them.

Employers are required to do this for the most part. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the normal work environment to allow a person with a disability to perform the job tasks. What is reasonable depends on the size and financial resources of the company, but companies must provide them unless it would cause the company undue hardship. An undue hardship must mean more than simply some increased costs.

Not all employers do this though or may claim that the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship when it really does not. If the employee becomes disabled during the course of employment, the employer may feel that it is easier to simply let the disabled employee go instead of provide the accommodation. This is illegal though and the employees may have a claim for wrongful termination. If the employee is successful they may be able to obtain back pay, future pay and other remedies such as getting their job back.

There are many employers in California and many employees with disabilities. If the employer does not provide reasonable accommodations and fires the disabled employee instead, the fired employee may be entitled to damages as a result. As stated above, the employer does not need to provide the accommodation if it causes the employer undue hardship though and that is a very fact specific determination. If people are unsure of their rights in these situations, a consultation with an experienced attorney may be useful.

Source: www.eeoc.gov, "Disability Discrimination" accessed on Oct. 11, 2017

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