Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: What constitutes a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Does my workplace have to make changes for me now that I have a disability? What are some examples of a reasonable accommodation?
By Attorney Peter Mapely of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm
Disabled employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) at the federal level and here in Ohio by R.C. § 4112. As we have previously blogged about, these laws also require that an employer accommodate a disabled employee if such an accommodation permits the employee to perform the essential duties of his or her job and does not create an undue hardship on the employer.
Examples of reasonable accommodations may include acquiring or modifying equipment to suit the needs of disabled employees, offering modified or flexible schedules, making the workplace readily accessible for disabled employees, and adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, and company policies.
Unfortunately, as employment discrimination lawyers who handle a lot of disability discrimination claims, we frequently see examples of employers not accommodating a person’s disability. We also encounter a great many individuals who have been terminated because of their disability. From our vantage point, it can seem like employers never do the right thing when it come to disabled employees.
Sometimes it’s important to remember that there are employers out there who do honor their obligations toward the disabled, who do provide employees with reasonable accommodations, and who even go above and beyond what is required by the law. I am happy to say that I have a family member who works for such an employer.
Five months ago I received one of those phone calls that we all dread. My dad was in emergency surgery and, while the doctors felt he’d likely make it through surgery, they were less enthusiastic about the prospects of his long term survival. A hospital liaison informed me that the doctors wanted approval to life flight my dad to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for further care.
My dad made it through that first surgery, and dozens upon dozens more. When all was said and done, he spent over a hundred days at the Mayo Clinic and another month and a half in a rehab facility. Despite the attention of some of the best diagnosticians on the planet, no cause was ever isolated. Sometimes this happens, an infection of unknown origin takes hold, wreaks havoc on the host, and no one has any answer as to what precipitated the devastation.
My dad came through, but he came through without either of his legs. A previously fit, seemingly always healthy man now has to adjust to life as a double amputee. Down the road, there will be prosthetics. For now, there is a wheelchair.
From the earliest days of my dad’s illness, through his very recent return to work, his employer has been accommodating, both in the ordinary and legal sense of the word. Once he was physically able to, they allowed him to work from his hospital bed, phoning and Skyping into meetings. Because it was apparent that any recovery would take a long, long time, his employer expanded the job description and pay of a coworker, so that coworker could pick up some of the slack.
In advance of my dad’s physical return to work, his employer installed automatic door openers in his office, secured a motorized wheelchair, rearranged his furniture to accommodate that wheelchair, and even had an employee survey the entire campus and map out all of the handicap accessible bathrooms.
To be sure, my dad’s employer had gone above and beyond what is required by the ADA. The ADA, and R.C. § 4112 in Ohio, set the bare minimum in terms of what an employer must do to accommodate a disabled employee. It’s nice to know, though, that there are employers who not only meet, but exceed, their legal obligation to disabled employees.
Having to live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Ohio employment law attorneys at 866-797-6040. The best option is not to wait. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get a work accommodation for my disability?”, “am I disabled under the ADA?”, “what should I do if…” or “can my boss fired me for …”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to disability discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, attorney, Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.