The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires employers to grant reasonable accommodations to members of their workforce who have a disability. In general, reasonable accommodations are modifications to people’s working conditions that enable them to work despite their disability.
Failure to comply with a request may constitute discrimination against an employee. Companies cannot outright refuse requests, ignore them, or retaliate against personnel for making them. Here are some things that both employers and employees should know about reasonable accommodation requests.
Examples of accommodations
Employees may need a modification to their workstation in order to perform tasks essential to their job roles. If an employee needs special ergonomic equipment, the employer must bear the cost. Alternatively, an employee may require schedule changes. For example, requests may include changes to working hours or the ability to work remotely.
Some requests may present an undue hardship to employers
It is possible for employers to refuse requests on the grounds that allowing them would result in unreasonable harm. A cost-prohibitive modification to a working environment, for example, may not be feasible for a small business. Likewise, a change in the nature or scope of a person’s job duties could potentially be detrimental to a company or require the hiring of additional personnel.
The primary directive of laws pertaining to reasonable accommodation is to protect individuals with disabilities. However, compliance with the EEOC’s regulations about accommodations also benefits employers. By granting requests, employers can cultivate an inclusive workplace and retain the most qualified personnel regardless of their disability.