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Does my employer have to provide me with reasonable accommodations?

Posted on July 20, 2017 | Firm News,Retaliation

While most people would list things like the weather, the culture and, of course, the ocean as some of the primary benefits of living in California, it’s important not to overlook the comprehensive legal protections afforded to residents — particularly employees.

Indeed, the landmark California Fair Employment and Housing Act not only ensures equal housing opportunities are a reality, but also helps ensure that people with disabilities are readily able to perform their jobs.

FEHA and reasonable accommodation

Under the FEHA, those employers with five or more employees are required to provide those individuals with disabilities with what are known as reasonable accommodations enabling them to carry out their responsibilities unless doing so would result in extreme hardship.

After reading this passage, three key phrases likely stand out: disability, reasonable accommodations and extreme hardship.

  • Disability: Under California law, which frequently has broader definitions and protections than federal law, a person is considered to be disabled when they have a medical condition (physical or mental) that limits a major life activity. Examples include impaired vision, mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, cancer and bipolar disorder to name only a few.
  • Reasonable accommodations: This means changes in the work environment and/or work process making it easier for disabled employees to perform their duties. This can include changing employment obligations, altering schedules, revamping work areas and supplying mechanical/electrical aids.
  • Undue hardship: If providing the disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation would result in significant expense and/or cause the employer significant difficulty, a reasonable accommodation may not have to be provided under state law.

Having clarified these important points, we’ll move forward with our discussion of reasonable accommodations. Specifically, we’ll examine what is known as the “interactive process” in our next post.

If you believe your employer has retaliated against you for requesting a reasonable accommodation or for exercising your rights in any other capacity, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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