How to address reasonable accommodations under the law

| Jun 24, 2020 | Reasonable Accomodations |

As an employer, you’re subject to a number of laws. As a result, no matter how you act, there’s probably going to come a time when you’re accused of wrongdoing. Litigation may be threatened, which, if handled improperly, can affect your business’s reputation and bottom line. Therefore, you need to have foresight in planning, take steps to minimize business risks, and develop legal arguments that protect you and your business as fully as possible in the event that you’ve been accused of wrongdoing.

This may be especially important when facing allegations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. These federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in all areas of employment on the basis of a disability, as well as the condition of pregnancy and women who recently gave childbirth. Employers therefore must be careful in their hiring, firing, and promotion practices, but they also need to be aware that these laws require them to provide “reasonable accommodations” for these workers.

This can be a delicate issue to navigate. After all, you probably want to work with your employees, but you also don’t want to be forced to take on an expensive and burdensome endeavor. Fortunately, the laws seek to strike a balance by allowing businesses to be rendered exempt from the reasonable accommodation requirement if it causes an undue hardship.

These are slippery terms of course. So what does it mean for you? It means that you need to let your employees ask for reasonable accommodations before making them. Once requested, negotiate with your employee to see if you can find a happy medium. After all, you’re only required to make reasonable accommodations. If that doesn’t work, then you need to ask yourself whether the accommodation places an undue hardship on your business. When analyzing whether an accommodation causes an undue hardship, you might want to consider the cost of the accommodation, the resources available to your business, and how the accommodation will affect your business.

These matters can be open to interpretation, thereby making them contentious legal issues. If you find yourself dealing with issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, then you might want to think about discussing them with an attorney who is experienced in employment law.