Employers are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).
It might be difficult to determine what accommodations are “appropriate.” This choice is made as part of an interactive process that aids in determining whether a proposed accommodation is appropriate for both parties. A legal claim under the FEHA may be made against an employer if they do not engage in an interactive procedure with an employee.
So when exactly is an employee allowed to have an “interactive process” about a suggested accommodation with their employer? There are three possible ways that an employer may be held accountable for initiating the interactive process, as a California employment lawyer can outline. Keep reading to learn more and then contact PLBH at (800) 435-7542.
Three ways an employer might become responsible for starting the interactive process
- A worker asks for a disability-related accommodation
- Either by their own observations or through a third party, an employer learns that a reasonable accommodation is required.
- An employee with a disability uses up all of their leave time linked to their impairment yet is still unable to work
Importantly, your employer does not necessarily have to be informed of your diagnosis or even the facts of your impairment or medical condition if you request an accommodation or your supervisor becomes aware of your need for one. It is sufficient if your employer is aware of the job restrictions caused by your handicap.
There are many potentially reasonable accommodations
The specifics of your condition and your employment responsibilities may determine which accommodations are suitable. A fair accommodation, for instance, would be to make the workstation accessible if you use a wheelchair. Your employer might have to provide you a part-time or modified work schedule, such as a later start to your day, if your condition prevents you from working for extended periods of time.
The FEHA offers a list of additional potential accommodations, including:
- Job reorganization
- More training
- Acquiring or altering tools or devices
- Allowing assistance animals on the job site
- Granting paid or unpaid time off
This list is not all-inclusive; depending on your handicap, there may be more reasonable adjustments.
The employer can decide which accommodations to allow for
Employees may suggest an accommodation, but the employer ultimately has the last say in selecting one from a list of suitable accommodations. On a list of potential accommodations, your manager can decide to offer one that is simpler to implement than another. The lodging you prefer should be chosen over the one provided by the employer, unless doing so would result in “undue hardship.”
The interactive process is a crucial stage in figuring out what kind of accommodation is appropriate in the given situation. Keep in mind that you may be able to sue your employer just for failing to participate in this process after they become aware of your need for an accommodation. You can find out if you can file a claim on this basis with the aid of an accomplished California employment attorney.
Call now to get the law on your side
It might be intimidating to request a workplace adjustment, especially if you fear that your employer would penalize you for doing so. PLBH can assist if your employer refuses to comply with your request or doesn’t participate in the interactive process.
Our team of skilled lawyers is committed to assisting workers who are the victims of various forms of workplace discrimination, such as the refusal to make a reasonable accommodation or participate in the interactive process with a disabled employee. Call us now at (800) 435-7542 to get started.