Failure to Accommodate

Employers have an affirmative duty to reasonably accommodate employees and applicants with a disability.  Disabilities can be mental or physical and the employer must be either actually or constructively aware of the disability.  An employee can request a reasonable accommodation in writing or orally. 

Information about Failure to Accommodate in California

According to both federal (ADA) and state (FEHA) laws, employers are mandated to take reasonable steps in order to accommodate disabilities or medical conditions that an employee has disclosed as well as potential disabilities that they may suspect.  In turn, the employer may ask for a doctor’s note or medical certification regarding the disability. 

Employers must work with their employees in an interactive process to do what they can to accommodate their employee; as long as it does not causee an “undue hardship” on the employer.  However, an employer is not able to just outright dismiss any requests for reasonable accommodations by stating that it is too costly to implement or too difficult to put into effect due to administrative issues. They must work in good faith to devise a feasible accommodation for their employees.

The primary goal of this law is to ensure that a person (with or without a disability) is able to perform the necessary tasks of his or her  job with or without accommodations. The process to find reasonable accommodations may take a great deal of time, but it is an ongoing responsibility of the employer.   There are a few accommodations that are typically used, although every circumstance is different.  Some of these accommodations include:

  • Job restructuring;
  • Making the facilities easily accessible and easy to use for employees;
  • Allowing assistive animals in the workplace;
  • Telecommuting;
  • Modifying or acquiring devices or equipment;
  • Providing paid or unpaid leave for recovery and/or treatment;
  • Reassigning an employee  to a vacant position; and
  • Offering modified or part-time work schedules.

Employees can suggest alternative accommodations to their employers as a part of the interactive process.  It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for requesting an accommodation.

Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Oakland

At Hunter Pyle Law, we have litigated many disability discrimination, failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process claims.  If you feel that your employer has failed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation or retaliated against you for requesting an accommodation, please contact us for a free and confidential initial intake today.