People with a disability have the same rights that other members of society enjoy. For example, they cannot be denied the right to apply for and obtain a job based solely on a disability. However, employers may need structural or operational changes in order to accommodate these workers.
You cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees unless doing so would cause undue hardships. How can you know whether your accommodation efforts will result in unjustified hardships?
What does undue hardship mean?
An accepted definition of undue hardship in relation to employment law is an action requiring substantial difficulty or expense. In other words, you may not ignore a reasonable accommodation request because it would be inconvenient.
If making the accommodation would harm your business substantially, you may meet the undue hardship requirements. This could mean the requested accommodation is too costly or would interfere with your day-to-day operations.
What should you consider?
A thorough examination of relevant factors can help determine if providing disability accommodations would hurt your business. For example:
- Your financial resources and expenses
- The nature of the requested accommodation
- An estimation of what implementing it may cost
- The potential of it impacting your daily business operations
Anti-discrimination and employment laws in the U.S. are more complex than ever before. Employers must abide by a plethora of laws and regulations that frequently change. Even one mistake in managing your workforce can open a path to legal problems, including the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit.
Stay informed about your responsibilities as an employer and check routinely for updates to California employment laws. Obtaining general legal counsel for your business is another way to lower your risks.