How Can Reasonable Accommodations Help You Protect Your Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act?
Reasonable accommodations under The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) protects the rights of disabled employees in the workplace and beyond. It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations (such as changes to the workplace or job) to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs. It mandates how businesses, and places of public accommodations should accommodate disabled people and employees.
If an employer, a landlord, or public place refuse to accommodate persons with disabilities, they violate the law. Reasonable accommodations help the disabled community, and business owners and landlords ensure everyone can work and live together without discrimination and exclusion.
What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is a change to the workplace, or public place that allows equal access to goods and services regardless of physical and mental abilities or disabilities. For example, providing a sign language interpreter at any court hearing provides a reasonable accommodation to any person in the courtroom (including defendants and plaintiffs) that is deaf or hard of hearing.
Reasonable accommodations for disabilities in the workplace will make changes to the hiring process, workstation, the way the job gets done, and the job responsibilities. These changes will assist any disabled employee in completing their job duties daily.
Failure to accommodate a person’s disability is a form of discrimination because it unfairly excludes certain classes of people. Contact a disability discrimination lawyer if an employer, landlord, or proprietor fails to accommodate your needs as a disabled individual.
What Are Some Reasonable Disability Accommodations Your Employer Can Provide?
Some accommodations or changes in the workplace can be a bit costly. However, many reasonable accommodations are inexpensive and make a huge difference to the comfort of any disabled employee.
- Your employer can provide a glare-free computer to stop the headaches the computer glare causes daily.
- You use a wheelchair. Your employer can widen the spaces between workstations to provide access for you in your wheelchair throughout the office.
- You have severe back problems, making sitting all day virtually impossible. Your employer can provide a standing workstation.
- You have diabetes. As a result, you need to eat several meals a day. Your employer can provide you with a ten-minute break every two hours for you to grab a snack.
- You have carpal tunnel syndrome in your right wrist. Your employer can provide specialized equipment, such as art supplies and scissors, for you to complete your job as an art designer.
- You have a latex allergy. Your employer can provide non-latex gloves for use in the kitchen.
- You have a hard time seeing small print. Your employer provides you a larger computer screen such that you can adjust to a larger font or zoom in to your pages at a higher percentage.
- You need to attend doctor’s appointments every other week until your medicine is properly adjusted. Your employer properly adjusts your schedule to allow you time to attend your doctor’s appointments.
What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) is the federal law prohibiting disability discrimination. Under these laws, employers, landlords, and owners or proprietors of public places cannot discriminate against anyone based on a disability. They also must offer accommodations to people with disabilities.
The law applies to any public place. It also applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The law says a person is considered disabled if the ailment affects any major life activity.
Additionally, the discrimination can be based on a perceived disability. To have a claim under the ADAAA, you do not have to be disabled. Your employer, landlord, or business owner can think you are disabled.
Many states offer state-wide protection for disabled individuals in housing, places of public accommodations, and employment. These laws may protect employees who work in companies with as few as one employee, offering a wider range of protections for disabled employees.
What Types of Disabilities Are Covered Under Disability Discrimination Laws?
The examples of conditions that are covered under disability discrimination laws include:
- Vision or Hearing problems
- Heart disease
- Complications from pregnancy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Missing limbs
- Mobility impairment/wheelchair use
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Downs Syndrome
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Drug or alcohol addiction\
What Types of Accommodations Are Considered Reasonable for Disability in the Workplace?
An employer is prohibited from making any employment decisions based on your disabilities or perceived disabilities. The ADAAA also insists your employer accommodate your needs as long as they do not create any undue hardship. Common accommodations for most businesses include installing wheelchair ramps and making bathrooms handicap accessible.
A reasonable accommodation depends on your position, ability to do your job, and the work environment. Some typical accommodations employers can make under the ADAAA include, but are not limited to:
- Alter job functions or duties.
- Change work schedules.
- Allow an employee a private workspace.
- Allow an employee music or noise-canceling headphones.
- Adjust or alter the workspace to accommodate physical needs, such as a standing workstation, room for a wheelchair, etc.
- Allow work-from-home options or other options to accommodate physically disabled employees.
- Allow time off for doctor appointments.
- Include accessible parking spaces in the parking lot.
- Modify training and testing materials\
- Allow service or emotional support animals in the workplace.
- Provide break times throughout the day.
- Provide interpreters or readers for employees.
- Reassign employees to more suitable positions.
- Modify face-to-face interactions.
- Allow service animals in the workplace.
- Provide modified equipment to assist with vision or hearing impairments.
Contact a disability discrimination lawyer to discuss reasonable accommodations and your rights when your employer refuses these accommodations. Sometimes you will get fired from work instead of receiving reasonable accommodations. Refusal of accommodations and termination can entitle you to compensation
What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Disability in Public Places?
Employers are not the only group affected by the ADAAA. Public places are required to accommodate disabled individuals as well. Once again, putting in ramps, widening entry doors, and modifying bathroom spaces are usual accommodations.
However, here are some other examples of reasonable accommodations in places of public accommodations under the ADAAA:
- Allowing Service and emotional support animals in the business
- Offering interpreters
- Making signs in large print and with braille
- Offering wheelchairs for mobility
- Providing seating areas for those who cannot stand for long periods.
What Is Considered an “Undue Hardship” for a Reasonable Accommodation?
Sometimes a reasonable accommodation may cause an undue hardship. A space may not accommodate physical changes without costing thousands of dollars a business may not have. Whatever the situation, there are times a reasonable accommodation cannot occur due to an undue hardship.
The law defines an undue hardship as an action that requires the business to make a large expense or encounter significant difficulty. An undue hardship takes into account several factors, such as:
- The nature of the accommodation
- The cost of the accommodation
- The size of the business operation
- The resources available to the business
- The nature of the business
- The structure of the business’s operation
How Should a Business Handle a Reasonable Accommodation if It Creates an Undue Hardship?
If a reasonable accommodation creates an undue hardship, the last thing your employer should do is fire you in an act of retaliation or wrongful termination. Instead, he must work with you to find an alternative accommodation. Rather than letting the accommodation fall to the wayside, your employer must attempt to otherwise accommodate you without causing an undue hardship.
When it comes to public places, business owners and landlords should also attempt to find alternative accommodations that allow them to avoid the undue hardship and still allow them to follow the laws set forth by the ADAAA.
Speak with a qualified disability discrimination lawyer to learn more about your rights when an undue hardship occurs relating to a reasonable accommodation.
Contact Our Experienced Disability Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
You have a right to accommodations that help you do your job, enjoy public accommodations, even with your disability. If you are the victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, public spaces, the Derek Smith Law Group’s experienced attorneys can help.
Were You Denied Reasonable Accommodations at Work, in a Public Place? Please Allow the Attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group to Help. Call 800.807.2209 or Email [email protected] with Your Questions.