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Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace


Reasonable AccommodationsIf you have a disability or serious medical condition, the law provides you protection in the workplace. In such a situation, your employer is responsible for making reasonable accommodations that enable you to perform your duties. The only time your employer may be unable to make such accommodations is if doing so would cause them undue hardship.

What is a Disability?

The law defines disability as a condition that limits a major life function, such as working. Therefore, California employers are not obligated to accommodate every single known medical condition or disability. The law has very specific definitions of what it considers disabilities. There are two basic categories of disabilities that the law requires an employer to offer reasonable accommodation for. These include:

  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental disabilities

The term ‘physical disability’ refers to any condition that has led to an anatomical loss or interfered with one or more of an individual’s major body functions. Examples of these conditions include arthritis, chronic migraines, diabetes, epilepsy, and hypertension.

On the other hand, ‘mental disabilities’ include intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and specific learning disorders. Examples of conditions under this category include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurodevelopmental disorders, et cetera.

Your Employer’s Duty to Provide Reasonable Accommodations Explained

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act have established laws that require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees.

Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Changing job duties and responsibilities
  • Allowing individuals with disabilities to take leave for medical reasons
  • Restructuring an employee’s job description to eliminate any functions that aren’t essential
  • Providing wheelchair-accessible workplaces
  • Allowing employees to bring service animals to their places of work
  • Changing an employee’s work schedule to make it more manageable
  • Adjusting training materials to make them more accessible for an employee with a disability
  • Installing mechanical and electrical assistive technology in the workplace
  • Allowing an employee to take a leave of absence
  • Allowing an employee to take intermittent leave

What You Need to Know About Requesting an Accommodation

Physical disabilities can be more straightforward at times, and the employer should have a better understanding of what accommodations might be requested or required in that circumstance. In these situations, they may make reasonable accommodations without necessarily receiving a request from the employee.

However, not all disabilities are obvious or visible to your employer. Sometimes, mental disabilities or impairments can be the most difficult to discuss with your employer, especially due to the stigma that society can attach to these conditions. You should do your best to ask for an accommodation in writing or orally if you feel that your employer is unaware of your disability or has not done anything reasonable to accommodate your condition.

Your employer should engage in an interactive process immediately after you request accommodation. During the meeting, they might request you or your medical provider to list reasonable accommodations that could improve your working conditions.

Speak to Our Reputable San Francisco Employment Lawyer Today

If you need help navigating the interactive process or you have evidence that your employer failed to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace, take action today by contacting Melody Rissell Leonard, a reputable and respected labor and employment lawyer practicing in California and Nevada. Melody may be able to help represent you and help you hold the employer accountable for their actions, or inactions. schedule a complimentary and confidential case review.

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