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When could an accommodation request be unreasonable?

You may have lived with a disability for your entire life or for most of it. Over the years, you have learned techniques for addressing your disability without having to miss out on important aspects of life, like having a job. Depending on the nature of your disability, you may need to request that your employer make a change to your workspace, the manner in which you work or another alteration to accommodate your disability.

Though the Americans with Disabilities Act protects your right to workplace accommodations, your request must be reasonable. If it is not, your employer may lawfully deny the accommodation. As a result, it may be worthwhile for you to understand a few reasons why an employer may consider an accommodation unreasonable and what to do if you believe your employer denied a reasonable request.

Why reasonable requests?

The ADA stipulates that a request for disability accommodation must be reasonable because a business cannot turn its operations upside down for one employee. In general, the law states that, if a request would cause an undue hardship on the company, then it is not reasonable. Of course, that does not mean that an employer can simply say that your request would cause an undue hardship. Your employer would have the obligation to try to make your accommodation work with the available options before deeming it unreasonable.

In addition to causing undue hardship on a company, a request could be unreasonable under the following circumstances:

  • The requested accommodation would cause another employee to lose his or her position.
  • The accommodation would result in another employee facing an additional workload.
  • The request would involve removing the essential functions of the position.

Though these specific scenarios would likely cause difficulties in the daily business operations, it does not mean that other options for the accommodation are not available to explore. For example, rather than placing additional work on another employee to make up a difference in productivity ability, an employer may be able to provide some type of technological equipment to a disabled worker to help make up the difference. 

What if your employer denies your request?

The denial of an accommodation can certainly be disheartening. However, if you believe that you made a reasonable request or that your Florida employer did not look into all options before deeming your request unreasonable, you may have reason to take legal action. Violations of the ADA are serious, and you do not have to suffer because someone else does not want to comply with the law.

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