NYC Reasonable Accommodations Lawyer
Helping New York Employees Get the Full Benefit of Protection Under the Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. A “qualified individual” is defined in the law as someone who “with or without reasonable accommodation” can perform the essential functions of the job. Since the passage of the Act in 1990, “reasonable accommodation” has been a central focus when it comes to cases of disability discrimination. Refusing reasonable accommodation is itself a type of unlawful disability discrimination, and employers face liability to their employees when they fail to provide a reasonable accommodation. The experienced New York employment lawyers at Mansell Law can help you if you were denied a reasonable accommodation from your employer.
What Is a Reasonable Accommodation?
An accommodation is a change to the work environment or the job that allows a person otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. An accommodation is reasonable so long as it does not pose a direct threat or create an undue hardship for the employer.
Accommodations are specific to the needs of the individual. Common examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Additional breaks
- Longer breaks
- Leave of absence
- Part-time employment
- Use of a service animal
- Moving the workspace to a lower level of the building
- Restructuring job duties
- Changing the work schedule
- Providing assistive technology
- Providing a preferred parking space
What Is an Undue Hardship?
A requested accommodation creates an undue hardship for the employer when it could only be done at a significant expense or difficulty to the employer. Whether a particular accommodation is an undue hardship depends on a number of different factors unique to the situation, including the size and nature of the company and the resources it has at its disposal. If an employer thinks a requested accommodation would pose an undue hardship, it should demonstrate way and offer other alternatives.
How Can I Get a Reasonable Accommodation?
When you let your employer know you need accommodation, this notice triggers what is known a the “interactive process.” The interactive process is a collaboration between you and your employer. Your employer is required to participate in this process in a good-faith attempt to find a reasonable accommodation. Examples of good-faith participation could include:
- Meeting with the employee
- Finding out about the employee’s condition and its limitations
- Asking you what kind of accommodation you want
- Demonstrating that the employer considered the employee’s request
- Offering alternatives if the proposed accommodation would create an undue hardship
What if My Employer Fails to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation?
File a complaint with the appropriate government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the New York Human Rights Commission (NYHRC). Your attorney can help you determine whether you are covered under the ADA or New York State or City anti-discrimination laws and can consult with you on the best place to file your claim.
After receiving your complaint, the government agency may try to resolve the matter between you and your employer, or they might sue your employer on your behalf. Alternatively, the EEOC or NYHRC could provide you with a “right to sue” letter, indicating you can move forward with a civil lawsuit against your employer for their failure to provide reasonable accommodation. If successful, the court could order the employer to provide your requested accommodation or some other reasonable accommodation. You could also recover “compensatory damages” – a monetary award for any actual financial losses you incurred, as well as any pain and suffering you endured from the failure to accommodate your disability.
You are also protected from discrimination or retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation or filing a charge with EEOC or NYHRC based on a failure to reasonably accommodate. If you were wrongfully terminated in retaliation, you could get your job back (reinstatement) with back pay, plus interest.
Help With Reasonable Accommodations in New York City Employment
Mansell Law exists to protect worker rights and hold employers accountable for violating worker protections in New York City. If your employer failed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation or engage in the interactive process, call our office at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation to find out whether you might have a valid claim that we could pursue for you.