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Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation

Disability discrimination remains a problem throughout the United States, despite the fact that there are laws in place to protect employees and help employers understand what they can and cannot do.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 makes it clear that an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation to a job applicant or worker who has a disability. The only way around this is if the accommodation would cause a great expense or challenge for the employer.

A reasonable accommodation consists of any change, either to a process or the environment, that will help a person with a disability better perform his or her duties.

Reasonable accommodations can include, but are not limited to, the following:

Job assignment restructuring

Modification of devices or equipment

Reassignment to a position that is not currently filled

Modified work schedule

Providing an interpreter or reader

Altering the workplace to be accessible by those with a disability

An employer that is not interested in providing a reasonable accommodation to an employee or qualified applicant must be able to demonstrate that doing so would result in an undue hardship.

Employers, employees and applicants should be familiar with the inner workings of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including the details surrounding reasonable accommodation. Having a clear idea of your rights as an employee, as well as what you can expect from your employer, may be able to prevent trouble and additional challenges in the future. Additionally, when an employer treats a disabled employee in the appropriate manner, the chance of a disability discrimination lawsuit being filed is much lower.

Source: EEOC, "The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability" Aug. 13, 2014

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