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ADA - Unreasonable Accommodation

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/13/2008
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One of my employees has asked that an accommodation be made for the employee's legally recognized disability. If no reasonable accommodation exists for this employee, does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require that I accommodate the employee anyway, even with an unreasonable accommodation?

No. The ADA, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability, generally requires covered employers to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to such individuals so they can actively participate in the workforce. Although the phrase "reasonable accommodation" is not specifically defined in the ADA, it may include the act of making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities also. Employers are required to participate in an interactive process with disabled individuals to determine what, if any, accommodation(s) can be made. If, after participating in the interactive process and considering all possible reasonable alternatives, it is determined that no reasonable accommodation exists, then the employer cannot be found liable for failing to accommodate the disabled individual.

However, whether or not an accommodation is considered "reasonable" under law is highly fact-specific and usually determined on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, employers need to make absolutely certain that no reasonable accommodation exists before refusing a request by an employee with a disability.

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Categories: 2008

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