A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment made by an employer to accommodate an employee or job applicant’s disability or medical condition. It’s all in the spirit of promoting equal working opportunities for all.
In California, employers with five or more employees are legally obligated to provide reasonable accommodation to their workers and a workplace free of any form of discrimination.
Common examples of reasonable accommodation
Any changes to a job, work environment or the way things are usually done to assist an employee in discharging their duties could count as a reasonable accommodation. Some common ways an employer may provide reasonable accommodation include:
- Adjusting work schedules
- Modifying work equipment
- Changing job duties
- Making the workplace more accessible
- Providing alternative work locations
- Providing interpreters or readers
An employer is not obligated to provide reasonable accommodation if it would cause them undue hardship, as explained below.
Undue hardship and reasonable accommodation
The law recognizes the fact that not all employers have sufficient resources or flexibility to make such changes. For example, an employer is not legally required to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee if doing so would result in significant expenses or severely disrupt operations (creating an undue hardship).
Protect your interests at the workplace
Your employer must make an effort in good faith to accommodate your disability if you have a debilitating condition that would make it hard for you to discharge your essential job functions without accommodations. It could be a temporary or permanent disability or even a pregnancy.
Learning more about your legal rights and the steps to take if your employer ignores your request for reasonable accommodation or retaliates against you can go a long way in protecting your interests.