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When Is An Accommodation Not Reasonable In California?

What If An Employer Cannot Accommodate Work Restrictions In California?

As long as doing so does not put an undue burden on their employer, firms must also provide employees with reasonable accommodations or adjustments that enable them to work. These accommodate employees' disabilities and medical conditions at work.

That said, the keyword is "reasonable." What does that mean? What request might be considered "too much" in California employment law?

Here's what our prescreened California disability discrimination lawyers have to say:

disability discrimination in the workplace

What Is Considered A Reasonable Accommodation In California?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must provide workers with disabilities with reasonable accommodations that do not subject the employer to undue hardship.

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers with five or more employees must provide these reasonable accommodations.

If you're facing job discrimination because of being disabled, you must contact a prescreened employment discrimination lawyer in California ASAP. An experienced California disability discrimination lawyer ensures your erring boss/superiors are held accountable for violating your labor law rights.

Can An Employer Deny Your Request For Accommodations?

The employer must accommodate employees as long as it doesn't cause due hardship on the employer's part. This means that as long as your request is reasonable and within the capacity of the employer to provide, it is your right to get reasonable accommodations.

If it qualifies as "unreasonable," you and your employer need to discuss other alternatives (more on this later). Just because they can't provide your first request doesn't mean they shouldn't give you any form of accommodation at all.

employment discrimination attorney

What Are The Most Commonly Requested Accommodations In The Workplace?

Employees cannot be refused hiring, demoted, fired, or harassed because of their disability status. This also applies to temporary disabilities like pregnancy or an employee recovering from an injury.

Here are a few examples of accommodations disabled employees can request:

  • Providing more ergonomic furniture (i.e., changing the desk, cubicle, or workstation)

  • Adding accessibility features (i.e., wheelchair ramps, disabled parking, etc.)

  • Releasing the employee from obligations not necessary for the job

  • Making a flexible schedule without unfairly shifting the responsibility to coworkers (i.e., allowing an employee to take their work home, changing work hours, etc.)

  • Giving a temporarily disabled employee (i.e., an employee recovering from injury, a pregnant employee, etc.) a lighter workload

Employees need to work with their boss to get accommodations that will help them at work. Therefore, you need to make a request and work alongside your boss to get the best outcome.

Can I Sue My Employer For Not Accommodating My Disability In California?

Yes. If you're denied an otherwise reasonable accommodation, you should contact a California disability discrimination attorney to file for damages.

You can also sue your employer if they do any of the following:

  • Firing you for requesting accommodations

  • Firing you after finding out you're disabled

  • Harassing you because you are disabled or requested accommodations for your disability

  • Retaliating against you for reporting them for labor law violations in California

  • Retaliation against you for suing them

The examples listed above are all grounds for different employment law claims. If you don't know which one your case falls under, contact a California disability discrimination lawyer to assess your claim.

What Is The Difference Between Reasonable And Unreasonable Accommodations?

As mentioned, a critical factor in requesting accommodations in California is that the request needs to be reasonable.

As long as a request is within the capacity of the employer to provide and it doesn't affect other employees in the company, then it should be given to the disabled employee.

However, it is considered unreasonable if the requested accommodation causes undue hardship.

What Is The Limit To An Employer's Duty To Accommodate?

What's considered "undue hardship" varies on a case-by-case basis. For example, big corporations can have no problem providing more accommodations than smaller businesses.

Generally, an unreasonable accommodation could have the following qualities:

  • It causes "undue hardship": It's too expensive or too big of a change for the employer's company. (i.e., ergonomic chairs that are too expensive for a small shop)

  • It removes essential job functions: The requested accommodation essentially removes the tasks listed in the job description. (i.e., HR personnel can work from home and speak to employees over Zoom, but they still need to always be available when the employees need them.)

  • It displaces or causes due hardship to other employees. A request is not a justification for hiring, demoting, or overworking another employee. (i.e., transferring a disabled employee to another position with equal pay should not result in another getting laid off.)

If unsure whether your request would qualify as a reasonable adjustment, we advise you to consult a prescreened employment disability lawyer in California. Lawyers for employees can assess your situation, your employer's status, and the potential employment discrimination claim.

california labor law attorney is an established online Lawyer Referral Service that refers you to a workplace disability attorney in California. You may contact us through our 24/7 live chat (or complete our case details submission form) for a free initial consultation.


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