If you have a disability and request that your employer provide you with a reasonable accommodation at the restaurant where you work, what exactly should that reasonable accommodation look like? In other words, does Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically define a reasonable accommodation, or are decisions about reasonable accommodations in the workplace made on a case-by-case basis? Job applicants or employees who have disabilities often want to know more about reasonable accommodations under the ADA.
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides Enforcement Guidance about reasonable accommodations, while the ADA National Network provides clarification about workplace reasonable accommodations. We have collated that information to provide information about three things employees should know.
Reasonable Accommodations Can Vary Depending on the Employee and the Particular Disability
The EEOC explains that there are many different types of potentially reasonable accommodations that an employer can make to accommodate an employee or job applicant with a disability. In most cases, a reasonable accommodation is one that “seems reasonable on its face” because it seems to be “feasible” or “plausible.” Accordingly, there is no one-size-fits-all reasonable accommodation. Rather, reasonable accommodations vary depending on the employee’s disability. The EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance cites the following as possible accommodations:
- Making existing facilities accessible;
- Job restructuring;
- Part-time or modified work schedules;
- Acquiring or modifying equipment;
- Changing tests, training materials, or policies;
- Providing qualified readers or interpreters; and
- Reassignment to a vacant position.
For example, a restaurant worker might request an accommodation that allows for a modified work schedule or a modified training protocol.
Not All Restaurant Owners Are Covered By the ADA, and Therefore May Not Be Required to Provide Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA
Not all restaurant owners or employers are covered by the ADA. Accordingly, not all restaurant workers may have rights to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. The ADA only covers employers with 15 or more employees. Restaurant workers who work for smaller employers should speak with a Georgia employment discrimination attorney about other options for reasonable accommodations for a disability.
Reasonable Accommodations Are Made on a Case-By-Case Basis
Title I of the ADA and the EEOC make clear that, in order for a restaurant worker to be eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, the worker must disclose the disability that necessitates a reasonable accommodation. Then, each request is considered on a case-by-case basis. Typically, the first step in the process involves the employee (or job applicant) disclosing his or her disability since an employer or potential employer is only required to accommodate disabilities that it knows about. The ADA National Network explains that a disclosure usually takes the following form: “Because of my disability(s), I am having trouble with X job duty or benefit or privilege of employment.”
The employer then should work with the employee or job applicant to determine what a reasonable accommodation or accommodations would look like, the employer should obtain documentation if necessary, and the accommodation must be effective.
Contact an Employment Law Attorney in Georgia
If you have questions about reasonable accommodations or the ADA’s prohibitions against employment discrimination, you should get in touch with a Georgia employment law attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Vaughn Law Firm to speak with an advocate about your case.