Understanding reasonable accommodation laws here in California

Employers in California are legally required to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. Applicable disabilities can include both physical and mental disabilities as outlined under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. A qualified employee who does not receive a reasonable accommodation and is denied their lawful rights may be eligible to pursue compensation.

California's reasonable accommodation laws outline how the state's employers should treat disabled employees or job applicants.

California's reasonable accommodation laws outline how the state's employers should treat disabled employees or job applicants.

If you or someone you love suffers from a disability and has been denied a reasonable accommodation by their employer, it is important that you contact an experienced employment law firm in Los Angeles as soon as possible. Our legal team at Blair & Ramirez LLP is ready to assist you with your disability case. Our top discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles can take the necessary legal action against your employer and pursue the damages that you deserve.

Get started by calling Blair & Ramirez LLP today at (213) 568-4000, or contact us to learn more about how we could assist you with your case.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations are defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under this federal law, an employer may not discriminate against an otherwise qualified individual because he or she suffers from a disability. Per the ADA, a “qualified individual” is defined as an employee who is able to complete all essential job functions whether they have a reasonable accommodation or not.

Generally speaking, reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications to an employee’s physical work environment that would allow him or her to complete the necessary job functions. Reasonable accommodations can take many forms. Here are just a few examples:

  • Restructuring the requirements of a particular job
  • Altering an employee’s work schedule
  • Altering certain work policies
  • Using a part-time work schedule
  • Providing certain equipment that would allow a particular individual to perform his or her job duties
  • Altering the training materials associated with a particular job
  • Providing an interpreter or reader to assist the employee
  • Permitting the employee to utilize a service animal, such as a service dog, while he or she is on the job

When is an employer required to provide a reasonable accommodation?

In the majority of disability cases, employers are required to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to perform his or her job. However, the employer is not required to provide this accommodation in the event that the accommodation would create a significant and undue hardship for the employer.

Under the ADA, “undue hardship” has a very precise legal definition. For example, an employer cannot claim undue hardship simply based upon inconvenience and/or a high financial cost to the employer. However, these are considerations that may be taken into account. The following factors may also be considered when determining whether or not an undue hardship exists:

  • The facility’s financial resources, including the number of individuals that the facility employs and the overall impact that providing the accommodation might have on running the facility efficiently.
  • The size of the covered entity, including the facility locations and the number of employees the facility has.
  • The structure, composition, and functions of the facility, including the type of operation involved.

The first step to obtaining a reasonable workplace accommodation is the disabled employee requesting one. Once the employee requests an accommodation, it is the employer’s duty to begin a good faith and timely process of searching for a reasonable accommodation. The accommodation must be such that it would allow the employee (or, in some cases, a prospective applicant) to be able to perform the essential job functions that are associated with the job.

Filing a lawsuit against an employer

If your employer has denied you a reasonable accommodation for your disability, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit against your employer. However, prior to suing your employer directly, you may need to first go through several administrative remedies. Those administrative remedies typically include filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

An experienced disability lawyer could seek a right-to-sue notice immediately so that you might be able to bypass a complete EEOC or DFEH investigation. You also have the option of waiting until DFEH officially dismisses your case before filing suit directly against your employer.

While some cases proceed all the way to trial, others settle out of court. As part of your settlement, you could receive compensation for losses that are related to your pension benefits, front pay, back pay, bonuses, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

Call an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer today

If you have wrongfully been denied a reasonable accommodation at your job, call Blair & Ramirez LLP at (213) 568-4000 or contact us. Our attorneys can review your case with you and outline your next steps.