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What makes an accommodation ‘unreasonable’?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Employment Law

Employees with a disability have the right to request accommodations that enable them to perform a job’s essential functions. Unfortunately, some employers will deny an accommodation, claiming it is not reasonable. 

To know whether this is a valid defense or not, workers should understand what makes an accommodation unreasonable in the eyes of federal and Michigan laws.

Types of unreasonable accommodations

Accommodations take many forms, such as a modified work schedule or ergonomic equipment. Generally, these types of provisions are reasonable.

However, accommodations can be unreasonable if they:

  • Put an undue hardship on the employer because they are overly complicated or expensive
  • Eliminate an essential component of the job
  • Disrupt or place extra work on other employees

 

For example, a person might request to work an alternative work schedule due to a disability. This could be reasonable unless it requires another person to work that same schedule or makes it impossible for another employee to do their job.

Another example could be temporary alternative job assignments, which would be reasonable for a pregnant employee. However, seeking permanent and significant changes to a job role may not be reasonable.

Other factors that affect accommodation approval

Employers could deny accommodation requests for reasons other than being unreasonable.

For instance, state laws protect the right of qualified candidates or employees. If someone is not qualified for the job with or without an accommodation, the law does not require employers to provide one.

Further, a person seeking an accommodation must submit a request and be prepared to demonstrate the disability and their ability to perform the essential functions of the job. If someone cannot meet these requirements, an employer may deny requests for accommodations.

Protecting your rights

While employers may deny accommodations for legitimate reasons, too many do so illegally. If this happens, there may be grounds to file a discrimination claim against an employer.

Workers with disabilities have rights that must be protected. This includes the right to request and receive reasonable workplace accommodations. Anyone with questions about these rights should contact the experienced attorneys at Miller Cohen.