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How To Request Reasonable Accommodations In California

Updated: Apr 21

Disabled Employees Can Request Reasonable Accommodations From Their Employers

If you have a disability and are working or seeking work, one of the most crucial components of the ADA is your right to request reasonable accommodations.


That said, what kinds of accommodations can you ask for, and how? Let's take a look at the employment laws that govern accommodations, as they are often handled by our prescreened California Employment Law Attorneys.


California Employment Discrimination

The ADA not only protects people with disabilities from discrimination, but it also compels employers to provide you with reasonable accommodations at work or when you apply for a job unless doing so would impose an excessive burden or hardship on the company.


What Is An "Unreasonable Burden"?

An unreasonable burden means that providing you with the accommodations you request would be extremely difficult or expensive for the employer.


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers, state and local governments, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications organizations are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities.

That said, no two employment claims are the same. What is considered "reasonable" or a "burden" can depend entirely on the employer's current capacity to employ accommodations. If you're unsure whether you have grounds for this employment claim, consult with a California Employment Attorney to help you.


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What Accommodations Can You Request?

When a disabled employee is treated unfairly or unequally, it is considered an act of discrimination.

Unless the requested accommodation would lead to or cause an undue burden, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act requires companies with five or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with a physical or mental handicap to apply for positions and perform the essential tasks of their jobs.


The following are some instances of possible accommodations:

  • To correctly perform the essential responsibilities of the job, a blind employee can request a computer screen reader.

  • Restructuring of work responsibilities to eliminate non-essential functions.

  • Under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Entitlements Act, employees with disabilities may have special rights to unpaid leave. (For example, allowing an employee to leave work for a doctor's or therapist's appointment)

  • Allowing disabled employees to have a flexible schedule so that they can work more on good days and fewer on bad days.

  • Relocation of the job site and reassignment to an open position

  • Assisting with mechanical or electrical devices

  • Allowing job applicants and employees to bring service animals to work.

  • Providing amenities that are easily accessible and useable by disabled people. (for example, providing handicapped-accessible break rooms, restrooms, training rooms, or dedicated parking spots)

Do note that this list is non-exhaustive. Again, employment claims can differ, and yours might be a unique case that hasn't been listed here. Talk to your California Employment Attorney and see what options you have.


What Is The Interactive Process?

Failure to engage in the interactive process is illegal in California. The goal of the process is to break down obstacles that prevent people from doing jobs that they could do with a bit of help.


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The procedure necessitates a personalized assessment of both the work and the individual's specific physical or mental limitations pertaining to the need for reasonable accommodations.


This means you really have to participate in the process of requesting accommodations. Otherwise, your employer won't know the best way to make adjustments for your needs.


How Do You Request Accommodations At Work?


If an employee requires accommodations, it is frequently recommended that they provide a written notice to their employer informing them of their disability, explaining how the disability affects their job functions, and explaining which accommodations are required to perform the job's essential functions.

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