If you suffer from a disability, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for your disability and not discriminate against an employee (or job candidate) because of a disability. If you believe that you have been fired because of a disability, it is important to seek help from an experienced employment law attorney.
Wrongful Termination | Reasonable Accommodation under ADA Denied
Under the ADA, a reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to the job, so long as an employee can perform the essential functions of a job.
Factors to consider in determining if a function is essential include:
- Whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function
- The number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed
- And, the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function
If an employee is able to perform the essential functions of a job, but becomes disabled, a reasonable accommodation may include:
- Making existing facilities more accessible – For example, by installing ramps or modifying a restroom, a disabled employee can navigate the workplace
- Job restructuring – If an employee is unable to perform part of their job due to a disability, they may want to consider requesting a “job restructuring” as a reasonable accommodation if the task is not an essential function of the job, but a marginal function. If for example you are hired as a dedicated driver and can no longer drive that is an essential function of the job so restructuring may not be possible, however a reassignment may be possible as a reasonable accommodation. IF on the other hand, driving a vehicle is an infrequent responsibility and other employees can pick up the slack, it may be a marginal job function and job restructuring might entail eliminating the driving requirement.
- Offer Part-time or Modified Work Schedule – An employee may be able to perform their essential duties from home or commit to fewer hours to fulfill the essential duties of the job
- Reassignment to Vacant Position – Sometimes an employee’s job cannot be restructured to accommodate a disability, but they may be qualified for a vacant position so that they can continue employment
- Acquiring or Modifying Equipment; Providing Qualified Readers or Interpreters; Changing Tests, Training Materials, or Policy – There are a number of approaches an employer can take to provide a reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee.
Accommodation Must Not Pose an Undue Hardship
Although an employer is required by law to provide a reasonable accommodation when an employee is disabled, an accommodation must not pose an undue hardship on the employer. Undue hardship arises when an accommodation would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. Factors that may determine if an accommodation is an undue hardship might include the cost of the accommodation, the employer’s size, financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.
However, even if a particular accommodation poses an undue hardship, an employer must try to identify another accommodation that does not pose such a hardship. If cost causes the undue hardship, an employer must consider whether funding for an accommodation is available from an outside source, such as a vocational rehabilitation agency, and if the cost of providing the accommodation can be offset by state or federal tax credits or deductions. Employers must also give the applicant or employee with a disability the opportunity to provide the accommodation or pay for the portion of the accommodation that constitutes an undue hardship.
Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
Disability discrimination is the unequal treatment of a person because of his or her real or perceived disability. With regard to employment law, disability discrimination may arise in any aspect of employment, including hiring, termination, pay, duties, promotions, training, and more. Federal and state laws protect persons with known qualified disabilities by not only requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations, but also protects an employee from retaliation if they report discrimination on the basis of disability. When you have been fired from your job after becoming disabled or are subject to harassment or retaliation due to a disability, contact the employment law attorneys at McDonald, Woodward & Carlson, P.C. for immediate assistance today.