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What Disability Accommodations Must an Employer Provide?

Duwel Law July 17, 2023

Disabled person sign and gavelJust because a person has a disability does not mean they are not entitled to employment. Fortunately, there are laws in place that provide employment protections to people with disabilities.  

If you have a disability and want to learn more about the accommodation that can be requested, contact Duwel Law. Our employment law attorneys also represent employers who need guidance when responding to requests for “reasonable accommodations” by employees with disabilities. We have an office in Dayton, Ohio, but serve employees and businesses throughout Miami County, Warren County, Montgomery County, Greene County, and Darke County.  

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most comprehensive civil-rights statute that protects people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in all areas of public life, including employment. The ADA was designed to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else in our country. Essentially, federal law provides civil rights protections similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of color, race, national origin, age, sex, and religion.  

Who Is Covered Under the Law?

The ADA protects all qualified persons with disabilities. Under federal law, a disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person’s participation in major life activities. A person is covered under the ADA if they have a record of a disability or is regarded as having a disability.  

What Is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation constitutes any change to the application/hiring process, the job duties, and/or the work environment to allow a person with a disability to perform the “essential functions” of the job. The essential functions of the job are defined as the fundamental responsibilities of a job an employee must complete to hold the position.  

Common examples of reasonable accommodations include: 

  • changing job tasks 

  • changing work schedules 

  • allowing a flexible work schedule 

  • providing leave for medical care 

  • improving accessibility in the work area 

  • relocating the work area 

  • providing reserved parking 

  • providing or adjusting products or equipment in the workplace 

  • providing mechanical or electrical aids to improve access 

What constitutes a “reasonable” disability accommodation depends on the facts of each individual case, which is why a consultation with an employment law attorney may be necessary when requesting disability accommodations (as an employee) or responding to requests for disability accommodations (as an employer).  

Is My Employer Required to Provide an Accommodation? 

Yes, employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodation. However, they are required to provide such accommodation only for the physical/mental impairments of which they are aware. Generally, it is the employee’s responsibility to inform their employer that an accommodation is needed.  

What Accommodations Must the Employer Provide?

Employers must provide accommodations to ensure that their employees with disabilities have access to equal benefits of employment. Reasonable accommodations are required unless providing such accommodations would cause an undue hardship to the employer.  

Once accommodations have been provided, an employee must be able to perform all of the essential functions of the job. However, employers do not have to modify the amount or quality of work they want their employees to do after providing disability accommodations.  

Can the Employer Ask for Proof of Disability? 

Generally, employers have no right to ask employees to provide proof of disability, whether the disability is apparent or not. However, the only time an employee may be required to provide proof of disability is when requesting reasonable accommodations.  

Questions? Reach Out to Our Attorneys Today 

If you are an employee seeking accommodations for a disability to perform your job, reach out to Duwel Law to get assistance in pursuing the desired outcome. Our attorneys also represent employers in claims involving disability accommodation. We serve employees and businesses in Dayton, Ohio, and the surrounding counties. Reach out to our office to schedule a confidential consultation and discuss your case.