State and federal disability laws require covered employers to reasonably accommodate an individual’s disability if the employer knows of the disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.
A “reasonable accommodation” is any modification or adjustment in a job, an employment practice or the work environment that allows an individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity (29 CFR sec. 1630.2(o), 2 CCR sec. 11065(p)).
It is also any modification or adjustment that is effective in enabling an employee to perform the essential functions of the job the employee holds or desires or to enjoy equivalent benefits and privileges of employment that similarly situated employees without disabilities enjoy.
The reasonable accommodation obligation is an ongoing duty and may arise anytime a person’s disability or job changes. Disability discrimination laws do not require you to make any modification, adjustment or change to a job or policy that you can demonstrate would fundamentally alter the essential functions of the job in question.
California’s disability regulations provide guidance on reasonable accommodation and the interactive process.