Congress has passed several laws aimed at fighting discrimination in the workplace. In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide protections and accommodations for disabled persons in the workplace.
The ADA prohibits employers from denying employment because a person has a disability. Further, the law imposes a duty to accommodate disabled persons in the workplace. Employers must provide reasonable accommodation to allow an employee to complete their job assignments.
Reasonable Accommodation Laws in Minnesota
Under the ADA, reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or to the normal hiring process to provide equal opportunities in the workplace to people with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are meant to assist a disabled person in three ways:
- Providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities in the hiring process;
- Providing accommodations so a person with a disability can perform their essential job duties; and
- Ensuring that an employee with a disability can enjoy the same job benefits as their co-workers.
Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Installing a ramp or modifying a restroom;
- Providing screen reader software;
- Providing sign language interpreters or closed captioning at meetings; or
- Changing workplace policies to allow service animals in the workplace.
Employees with a disability may request any reasonable accommodations that would assist them in performing their essential job functions.
Employees bear the responsibility to request reasonable accommodations if they have a disability. This request can be made verbally or in writing and does not require specific language or procedures.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations depending on the specific needs of the individual and the nature of the work. Employers must work with the employee who requested accommodation to determine if it is reasonable and necessary for the employee to perform their job.
When Can an Employer Deny a Request for Accommodation?
Under certain circumstances, employers may deny requests for accommodation.
If the requests are unreasonable, the employer may refuse to grant the request or may modify the request.
Examples of unreasonable requests include:
- Requests that eliminate an essential function of the job, or
- Requests that disrupt the company’s ability to make profits.
Additionally, employers do not need to grant accommodations that would cause the employer undue hardship. Undue hardships include:
- Significant costs to the employer,
- Disruption of the normal course of business, and
- Significant difficulty.
Courts assess undue hardship based on several factors, including:
- The size of the employer,
- The employer’s financial resources,
- The nature of the employer’s business, and
- The impact of the accommodation on the business.
Employers only have to provide accommodations for disabilities of which they are aware. If you have a disability and you need accommodations, you must inform your employer and make a request.
What Should I Do if My Employer Denied My Reasonable Accommodation Request?
Your employer may not ignore your request or deny a reasonable request.
If your employer ignores or denies your request, you should follow the guidelines below to fight your request denial.
Put Your Request in Writing
First, put your request in writing and send it to the head of your company’s human resources department.
Although not required by law, this will help ensure your employer understands your request. You can also refer back to your written request if you need to pursue further action.
Contact an Attorney
If your employer continues to ignore your request, you should speak with a qualified employment discrimination attorney.
Your attorney can contact your employer directly and help you demand your accommodation. An attorney also understands the ADA and other anti-discrimination laws and can help you navigate the process.
Your lawyer can help ensure your request is reasonable to avoid denial by a court. Finally, your attorney can help ensure your request fully accommodates your needs. The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal opportunities in the workplace. Your attorney will work to ensure you receive the accommodation to which you’re entitled.
File a Claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
If your employer refuses demands and negotiations with your lawyer, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC will assess your claim to determine if your employer has discriminated against you.
If the EEOC does not take action or you are dissatisfied with the outcome, your lawyer can help you file a claim in court.
We Are Here to Help
If you have a disability, you have a right to equal opportunities in the workplace. We do not tolerate discrimination, and we will fight diligently to protect your interests. The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have extensive experience defending our client’s interests and protecting their rights.
We put our clients first, and we strive to answer all of your questions and provide you support every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our office at 651-419-5366 or fill out an online form.
Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. Josh was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology. Mr. Stokka alson received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law. During law school, Josh clerked at a Minnesota law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result. Now, he focuses 100% of his practice on defending injured workers in Minnesota.