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When Do Employers Need to Provide Accommodations to Disabled Employees?

 Posted on February 06, 2023 in Employer defense

Illinois Employer Defense LawyerWhen it comes to workplace accommodations for disabled employees, there are a few things that employers need to know. Accommodations must be provided in order for disabled employees to have equal opportunities in the workplace and access to the same benefits as their non-disabled colleagues. It is important for employers to understand when they are legally required to provide accommodations so that they can ensure their business is compliant with federal and state laws. Employers who fail to meet these requirements could potentially face discrimination lawsuits from employees, and in these situations, they will have a burden of proof to show that they have complied with the applicable laws.

When Do Employers Need To Provide Accommodations?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in order to allow them to perform essential job functions. Under the ADA, a disability may include any physical or mental impairment that has substantially limited an employee's ability to complete tasks or participate in regular activities in the workplace or in their personal life. Disabled employees may request reasonable accommodations, and employers are generally required to address these needs as best as possible unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the business. Undue hardship may involve significant difficulties that affect other employees or limit the employer's ability to do business, as well as unreasonable expenses that exceed the employer's financial resources.

What Accommodations Are Required?

The type of accommodations needed will depend on the individual’s disability and job requirements. Common accommodations include:

  • Providing assistive technologies such as voice recognition software, screen readers, or the use of videoconferencing for employees who have hearing impairments

  • Making modifications to the workplace, such as adding wheelchair ramps or changing the layout of an office to address mobility issues

  • Providing equipment such as adjustable desks or ergonomic chairs

  • Providing sign language interpreters or ensuring that written materials are offered in Braille

  • Providing assistants who can help with certain tasks or duties or ensure that a disabled employee can move throughout the workplace safely

  • Restructuring an employee's job duties to fit their capabilities or reassigning a person to a different position

  • Modifying work schedules to allow a person to attend medical appointments or take time off when needed

  • Allowing for the presence of service animals in the workplace

  • Providing reserved parking for people with handicap permits

  • Providing additional training to ensure that disabled individuals can do their jobs effectively

  • Updating performance evaluation procedures or other workplace policies to address the unique factors that affect disabled employees

Employers generally will not be required to provide accommodations if they are unaware of an employee's disability. However, once accommodations are requested by an employee, it becomes an employer's responsibility to ensure that these issues are addressed correctly. Failure to respond to an employee's requests or refusal to provide reasonable accommodations could lead to legal action from the employee.

Contact Our Schaumburg Employment Discrimination Defense Lawyer

Accommodating employees with disabilities is not only a legal requirement, but it can create an inclusive work environment where everyone feels welcome and respected. With proper planning and an understanding of their legal requirements, employers can successfully accommodate their disabled employees and ensure that they are in compliance with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have questions about your rights and requirements as an employer, or if you have been accused of discrimination against employees with disabilities, contact an Illinois employer defense attorney at The Miller Law Firm, P.C.. Calling 847-995-1205 to set up a free consultation today.


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Illinois State Bar Association
1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-995-1205

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