Companies in California understand that they cannot discriminate against their employees or prospective employees. They are also most likely aware that they need to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities so they can perform the job or even interview for an opening within the company. Reasonable accommodations can come in many different forms depending on the needs of the worker.
Some of these accommodations are easier than others. It could be as simple as allowing for more breaks or changing a schedule. However, sometimes it may require specialized equipment or completely changing a workstation to allow the employee to complete the job tasks. Some of these accommodations are costly and take significant effort.
There is a reason that employers only need to provide reasonable accommodations. The law states that if an accommodation will cause an undue hardship on an employer they do not need to provide the accommodation.
Factors used to determine undue hardship
To determine whether the requested accommodation will cause an undue hardship, there are a number of factors to analyze. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided guidance on these factors which include:
- The extent of the accommodation and how much it will cost the company
- The financial resources of the company and how the expense for the accommodation affects the overall financial resources of the company.
- If the facility where the accommodation is being requested is part of a larger company, the financial resources of the larger company and their ability to provide the needed resources to the facility
- How the requested accommodation will affect the overall operations at the facility
Whether a reasonable accommodation will cause an undue hardship is a very fact-specific determination that relies on the unique circumstances of each request. The hardship needs to be more than just an inconvenience though and really need to be analyzed properly before denying a reasonable accommodation request. Experienced attorneys understand how these decisions are made and can provide guidance prior to making determinations.