Reasonable Accommodations For Disabilities
Disability discrimination is unique. Unlike other types of discrimination, employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations that will allow them to perform their jobs. The notion is that we, as a society, would rather require employers undertake a little extra burden or expense by accommodating disabled employees so they can be employed rather than rely upon public assistance. Other types of discrimination do not have this affirmative obligation for employers (but religious discrimination does have its own lesser accommodation requirement).
The definition of “disability” is extremely broad. The impairments we traditionally think of as disabilities, such as blindness or amputated limbs, will generally always qualify as a “disability.” But the definition is even broader. Severe illnesses such as cancer and AIDS usually qualify. More everyday impairments such chronic lower back pain, torn rotator cuffs, lower back sprains, and other types of common physical impairments can qualify as a “disability.” Many workplace injuries can qualify as a “disability.” Mental impairments such as depression or anxiety can qualify. Severe allergies can qualify. If you have any physical or mental impairment affecting your job, you may be protected by disability discrimination laws.
If you do have a “disability,” you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation so your disability does not get you fired. There are many different types of accommodations that employers may have to provide you. One common accommodation is an unpaid leave of absence to treat, or recover from, the effects of a disability. As a result, disability discrimination laws may be a way to obtain additional job-protected leave from your employer when you are not able to use FMLA leave. Other types of accommodations include light duty, transfers to positions where you meet the physical job requirements, assistive devices, time off to attend doctor’s appointments, or anything else that might help perform your job notwithstanding your disability. The only limitation on reasonable accommodations is that they cannot impose an undue hardship or expense on the employer.
Willis Spangler Starling is skilled at handling disability discrimination cases, and particularly those where an employer has failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. The laws governing disability discrimination tend to be very technical and often require medical expert testimony. We have the skill and resources to pursue this type of case. Call 614-721-6305 to set up a free consultation today.