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Addressing disability accommodation needs in a California workplace

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Disability Discrimination |

For many employees, requesting workplace disability accommodations from an employer is incredibly difficult. They fear being viewed as a trouble-maker. Still, if you have disabilities, doing so is your right and could even make you a more productive employee, to everyone’s benefit.

If you would like to approach your boss about accommodations, these tips can help you feel more confident and prepared for this vital discussion.

Know your rights

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers may not deny reasonable accommodations unless providing them would cause undue hardship. For example, if installing a wheelchair ramp would cost more than the employer can afford, they may deny the accommodation lawfully. However, the hardship must exist and not be fabricated or inflated, and the employer must be able to demonstrate the hardship.

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), workers with a disability have broader protections compared to federal law. It could allow you to seek tailored accommodations you may not be allowed under the ADA.

Be ready to exercise those rights

When making a formal request, include medical documentation showing why you need accommodations, especially if your disability is not obvious. Providing healthcare records upfront can make a persuasive case and get you approved quicker.

Have a backup plan

Consider contacting an employment law representative before submitting your request. They can review your petition, work to ensure that the accommodation is reasonable, and stand by to act on your behalf if your employer denies the request. A proactive approach like this can potentially save you time and stress down the line.

Remember, requesting accommodations is your right under federal and state law. With these tips, you can more effectively exercise your rights and potentially enjoy a more empowered and productive work experience.