When an employee with a disability makes a reasonable accommodation request, they are essentially asking for a change to their workplace environment that will enable them to fully participate in the workplace and perform the essential functions of their position to the best of their ability. The reasonable accommodation request is a quintessential part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The goal of the ADA is to ensure equal access to jobs, the working environment, workplace information flow, and economic independence. These goals are so important that Congress specifically decreed that employers grant all reasonable requests—a broad category that is limited only in rare circumstances.
How Do I Know If My Request for Accommodation Is Reasonable?
Requests for accommodations vary widely because people with diverse disabilities participate in the workforce. However, the goal of workplace accommodations remains the same: to provide employees with disabilities access to the same spaces, information, and opportunities for advancement that other employees enjoy.
So long as your employer has 15 or more employees, you have a legal right to a reasonable accommodation for your disability under federal and state law from the moment you apply for a job. That right continues when you are hired and throughout your employment .
Reasonable accommodations in the workplace are a fundamental right of every employee with a disabilityin a covered employment setting. If you are being denied these rights, reach out to our North Carolina and South Carolina employment lawyers now at The Noble Law. We’ll listen—and take action.
Were you wrongfully denied a reasonable accommodation at your job?
Workers with a wide range of disabilities participate in the workplace . Consequently, requests for reasonable accommodation can take many forms. Unfortunately, employers don’t always respect their employee’s needs, or understand their obligations to employees under federal law. However, ignorance does not excuse covered employers from granting employees a reasonable accommodation for their disability.
For example, say the company has built a conference room addition onto the premises with a few steps leading to the new space. You can’t navigate the steps because of your wheelchair. You ask to have a ramp installed so you can attend meetings with your co-workers. Your supervisor insists you—and only you—participate remotely. You made a reasonable accommodation request, which likely involved minimal expense. Your employer should have complied.
Or, you may have managed for years to navigate the parking lot, but now your post-Polio syndrome has worsened. You ask for a parking space close to the entrance of the building. Your boss refuses. You requested a reasonable accommodation with no expense involved. You were wrongfully denied.
Say you have a degenerative eye disease. You ask to be transferred to an available position for which you are qualified, such as customer service, that is less focused on written work, which is hard for you to do now. Your boss should likely grant this request for a job task change, or at the very least engage in an interactive discussion with you to determine what other appropriate accommodations could be made.
According to the nonprofit National Network, which provides training about the Americans with Disabilities Act, typical accommodations in addition to the above examples include:
- Flexible work schedules
- Testing and training materials
- Placement in vacant or available position
- Provide or adjust products, equipment, software
- Provide an aid or a service for greater accessibility
How Do I Ask for a Reasonable Accommodation?
The federal government is clear on this: you don’t have to put your request in writing, and you don’t have say it in any special, fancy way. It’s legally sufficient to simply tell your supervisor what you need.
After you ask for a reasonable accommodation, your company may request documentation from you and your medical providers to substantiate your need. However, if your employer delays and denies your reasonable accommodation request, reach out to a North Carolina or South Carolina workplace discrimination lawyer without delay.
Denied Your Rights? The Noble Law Can Help
At The Noble Law, our practice is dedicated to employment law. We are immersed in the legal issues that matter to you: workplace justice for persons with disabilities.
We value and respect the rights of persons with disabilities to fully participate in the workforce. We know that each case is unique and you can be certain we will listen carefully to you and advocate for your unique situation, needs and concerns.
If your employer has refused your reasonable accommodation request, you have good cause to feel outrage—because they are breaking the law. Learn what legal actions we can take on your behalf to compel them to install the reasonable accommodations you need or to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. We promise always to hear you and treat you with the dignity you deserve.