Accomodating disability employer
The standards for reasonable accommodation and undue hardship have proven difficult for courts to apply.
The language of the ADA, however, is not precise as to the accommodations required.Until Congress or the Supreme Court offers greater clarification, many accommodation disputes will end up in court. The ADA prohibits employers from engaging in a broad range of discriminatory conduct on the basis of an employee's disability.Employers may not limit, segregate or classify jobs in such a way as to discriminate; contract or arrange with others to discriminate; utilize discriminatory standards, criteria, or methods of administration; or exclude or deny qualified individuals from jobs or benefits on the basis of disability.Job changes include such things as restructuring the job, shortening or modifying the work schedule, transferring the employee to another vacant job, acquiring or modifying necessary equipment, and adjusting examinations, training materials or policies."Undue hardship" under the ADA means "significant difficulty or expense" for the employer.Factors the employer may consider in weighing undue hardship include: 1) the nature and cost of the accommodation; 2) the financial resources of the facility requiring the accommodation; 3) the number of workers at the facility; 4) the impact of the accommodation on the facility's expenses, resources or operations; 5) the employer's overall size, nature and resources; 6) the type of operations covered; and 7) the relationship between the facilities covered and the business entity (employer) as a whole.As a result, employers and employees are often in conflict over the nature and extent of accommodations the employer must provide.Courts around the country also disagree on this issue.The ADA does not specify who is supposed to take the initiative in accommodating the employee's disability.Thus, employers don't know whether it's their duty, or the employee's, to propose changes that would allow the employee to perform the job.What might be reasonable in one context may not be in another.For example, if a person in an office job needed help from another employee to lift items weighing over 25 pounds, such help may be totally reasonable.