We Protect Workers

What are the limits of reasonable accommodation?

As someone who is living with a disability, you have a right to work. However, working in a normally abled workplace may require you to ask for reasonable accommodations.

Employers are expected to provide you with reasonable accommodations. Those accommodations can be anything from providing you with extra breaks to rest to giving you a chair to sit down while you work.

What exactly is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an accommodation that will allow you to complete your job. Reasonable accommodations are changes that your employer can make to enable you to work easier without negatively impacting the workplace. Accommodations that fall under the term “reasonable” will not create a direct threat or hardship in the workplace.

Can your employer ask you for proof of your disability?

Sometimes, employers won’t want to make accommodations without proof that you need them. It’s reasonable for your employer to ask for medical documentation from a health care provider so that they can confirm that an accommodation is needed. A simple note from a provider may be enough. Not all disabilities are obvious, and not all people will be familiar with your particular disability.

When your employer sees that you have a disability and has that confirmed, they should then speak with you about the accommodations you need. If an accommodation you’re asking for isn’t possible because of the burden it would place on the workplace, then your employer may offer alternatives.

For example, if you cannot sit while you work because of the hazard of moving parts around you, then your employer might suggest taking more breaks or even moving to a different position that could accommodate your needs.

Can you be fired because of needing accommodations?

Remember that you must be able to perform essential job functions to qualify for any position, so if you cannot perform them, you need to ask for an accommodation. If you can’t perform your duties even with the accommodation, then your employer has the option of placing you into another position that you can work in comfortably. If you cannot do your job despite getting accommodations, then you may be subject to termination, like any other worker would be.