The short answer is that yes, you are within your right to ask your Georgia employer to make reasonable accommodations that enable you to do your job. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and related laws prohibit employment discrimination and implement protections against individuals who possess certain characteristics. Key provisions within these statutes require your employer to modify workplace conditions if necessary for employees to perform job-related tasks.
However, there are many legal challenges, pitfalls, and limitations regarding the concept of reasonable accommodation. You should trust a Georgia employment discrimination lawyer to assist in making the request, and to enforce your rights if your employer is unwarranted in declining it. Some answers to common questions about reasonable accommodation can help you understand the basics.
Why do reasonable accommodations matter in the workplace? The concept is important because of the employer’s duties under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), and other statutes that cover employment discrimination. These laws prohibit acts that result in unfair treatment for an employee, such as termination or refusal to promote on the basis of sex, age, race, religion, and other traits. They also extend to workplace scenarios, including the requirement that an employer make reasonable accommodations that will enable an employee to work.
How do I initiate a request for reasonable accommodations? You should check with your company internal policies about the specifics, since there may be a formal process for making the request. If the topic is not covered, you should make a request through email or other written form. You can point out how the status quo is not acceptable, and then propose certain modifications to the work environment and highlight how they will help you perform your job. From there, your employer must work with you through an interactive process on how to effect the accommodation or otherwise resolve the issue.
What work accommodations would be reasonable to request? The details vary based upon your physical limitations, whether your condition is temporary, your job duties, and many other factors. Under certain circumstances, it may be reasonable to ask for:
- Assistive devices;
- A modification to your job tasks;
- Flexible hours to be able to attend doctor’s appointments;
- Relocation of your workspace; or,
- Remote working.
Is my employer required to accommodate every request? There are limits to what your employer must provide, which is why the term “reasonable” is included in the terminology. Your employer may assert undue hardship would result from providing you with the accommodations you requested, usually because the modification would be impractical or cost-prohibitive. For instance, your request to work from home will be denied if you are a server at a restaurant.
What should I do if my employer refuses a request for reasonable accommodations? You may have a claim for employment discrimination when the company denies your request and does not provide adequate justification. You may also have legal remedies if your employer:
- Refuses to participate in the interactive process in good faith;
- Develops a reasonable accommodation, with your input, but then refuses to implement it; or,
- Terminates your employment or takes other retaliatory action against you for making the request.
Our Georgia Employment Discrimination Attorneys Can Answer Additional Questions
While this overview may be useful, it is essential to obtain personalized information about reasonable accommodations and your rights under employment discrimination laws. Our team at Vaughn Law Firm can advise you on making a request and working with your employer, but we are also prepared to seek appropriate legal action if necessary. To set up a consultation with an experienced lawyer, please contact our Decatur, GA office by calling 877.615.9495 or visiting our firm online.