2020 has just begun, and it’s a perfect time for business owners to ensure that their policies align with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for reasonable accommodations.
The ADA states that an employer shall not discriminate against an individual on the basis of a disability. The protections of the ADA cover those individuals who can perform essential functions of the employment position that the individual holds or desires, with or without reasonable accommodation. It is important to note that employers may not deny employment opportunities to qualified individuals with a disability if the denial of employment is based on the need for a reasonable accommodation. 
The ADA requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities, unless such accommodation would cause undue hardship. Under the ADA, a disability is a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.” This definition also includes individuals who do not currently have a disability, but have record of such an impairment. Additionally, the definition includes persons who do not have a disability, but are regarded as having a disability (e.g. an injury that is transitory or minor does not constitute a disability under the ADA). 
If an individual has a qualified disability under the ADA, he/she is eligible for a reasonable accommodation. Under the ADA, an employer can provide such reasonable accommodation in a variety of ways. A reasonable accommodation may include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Likewise, an employer can modify work schedules, reassign the employee to a vacant position, acquire equipment or devices, or provide similar accommodations.
Even if an individual qualifies for, and requests a reasonable accommodation, the ADA does not mandate that an employer must grant such a request.  Under the ADA, an employer does not have to make reasonable accommodations for a person with a disability if the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would result in an undue hardship on the operation of the business. 
The ADA defines undue hardship as, “an action requiring significant difficulty or expense.”  In determining whether or not a reasonable accommodation will result in undue hardship, there are four factors to consider:
Business owners must have a written policy
In order to comply with the ADA reasonable accommodations requirements, it is imperative that business owners have a written policy. This written policy should
Upon distribution and explanation, employees should be required to sign and date that they understand the requirements for reasonable accommodations, and that they understand the process for requesting such accommodations.
Every case presents its own unique facts and circumstances, so it’s important to consult with a professional. The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio offer substantial knowledge on accommodation compliance and have a wide-range of experience drafting appropriate workplace policies suitable to their client’s specific needs. Visit our website or call 586-726-1000 for more information.
 42 U.S.C. 12112(a).
 42 U.S.C. 12111(8).
 42 U.S.C. 12112(5)(B).
 42 U.S.C. 12102(1) and 42 U.S.C. 12102(3).
 42 U.S.C. 12111 (9).
 42 U.S.C. 12112(5)(A).
 42 U.S.C. 12111(10)(A).
 42 U.S.C. 12111(10)(B).