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Top Mistakes to Avoid When Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

June 11, 2024 Admin Reasonable Accommodation

One critical aspect of employment law is ensuring that employees with disabilities receive the reasonable accommodations they need to perform their duties effectively. At Rager & Yoon—Employment Lawyers, we understand the complexities of requesting reasonable accommodations and the importance of avoiding common mistakes. If you are searching for a reasonable accommodation attorney in Los Angeles, this guide is tailored to help you navigate the process successfully.

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation refers to modifications or adjustments to a job or work environment that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform essential job functions. These accommodations are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Common Types of Reasonable Accommodations

  • Modified Work Schedules: Adjusting working hours to accommodate medical appointments or fatigue.
  • Physical Changes: Installing ramps, modifying workstations, or providing ergonomic furniture.
  • Assistive Technologies: Supplying screen readers, voice recognition software, or other assistive devices.
  • Job Restructuring: Reassigning non-essential tasks to other employees.
  • Leave of Absence: Providing unpaid leave beyond what is typically offered by the employer.

Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Rights

One of employees’ most significant mistakes is not fully understanding their rights under the ADA and FEHA. Both laws provide robust protections for employees with disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations unless doing so causes undue hardship on the business. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with these laws or consult a Los Angeles reasonable accommodation attorney to understand your rights and entitlements.

Mistake #2: Failing to Disclose Your Disability

Another common error is failing to disclose your disability to your employer. To request a reasonable accommodation, you must inform your employer of your disability and need for accommodation. This doesn’t mean you must provide detailed medical records but sufficient information to explain why the accommodation is necessary. Without this disclosure, your employer is not obligated to provide any adjustments.

Mistake #3: Not Providing Adequate Documentation

When requesting a reasonable accommodation, it’s crucial to provide adequate documentation from a healthcare provider. This documentation should outline your disability, how it affects your job performance, and the recommended accommodations. Inadequate or vague documentation can lead to delays or denials of your request. Working with a knowledgeable Los Angeles reasonable accommodation attorney can ensure you correctly gather and present the necessary information.

Mistake #4: Ignoring the Interactive Process

The ADA and FEHA require employers to engage in an interactive process with the employee requesting accommodation. This is a collaborative dialogue aimed at finding a suitable accommodation. Ignoring or not participating in this process can hinder your chances of receiving the necessary adjustments. Be proactive and engage with your employer to discuss possible solutions.

Mistake #5: Not Exploring All Accommodation Options

Sometimes, employees fixate on a specific accommodation without considering alternative solutions. It’s essential to be flexible and open to different accommodations that might also meet your needs. During the interactive process, discuss various options with your employer. A reasonable accommodation attorney in Los Angeles can provide valuable insights into alternative accommodations that suit your situation.

Mistake #6: Missing Deadlines

Employers often have specific procedures and timelines for requesting accommodations. Missing these deadlines can result in delays or denials. Ensure you follow your employer’s procedures carefully and submit your request and supporting documentation within the required timeframe. If you are unsure about these deadlines, consult with a Los Angeles reasonable accommodation attorney to avoid any procedural missteps.

Mistake #7: Not Keeping Records

Documentation is crucial when requesting a reasonable accommodation. Keep detailed records of all communications with your employer, including emails, letters, and meeting notes. This documentation can be invaluable if you need to escalate your request or if a dispute arises. Maintaining organized records ensures you have evidence to support your case if needed.

Mistake #8: Assuming All Requests Will Be Granted

While the ADA and FEHA mandate reasonable accommodations, not all requests are granted. Employers can deny requests if they prove that the accommodation would cause undue hardship. Be prepared for the possibility of denial and understand the reasoning behind it. If you believe your request was unjustly denied, seek advice from a reasonable accommodation attorney in Los Angeles to explore your options.

Mistake #9: Failing to Follow Up

After submitting your request, don’t assume everything will proceed smoothly without your involvement. Follow up regularly with your employer to check on the status of your request. Lack of follow-up can lead to unnecessary delays. Demonstrating your commitment to the process can also show your employer the importance of the accommodation to you.

Mistake #10: Not Seeking Legal Advice When Needed

Navigating the reasonable accommodation process can be complex and challenging. If you encounter difficulties or believe your rights are being violated, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. A reasonable accommodation attorney in Los Angeles can provide expert guidance, help you understand your rights, and represent you in disputes with your employer.

Conclusion

Requesting a reasonable accommodation is a critical step for employees with disabilities to ensure they can perform their job duties effectively. Avoiding these common mistakes can significantly increase your chances of a successful accommodation request. Remember to understand your rights, disclose your disability, provide adequate documentation, engage in the interactive process, and seek legal advice when necessary.

At Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers, we are committed to helping employees navigate the complexities of employment law. If you need assistance with a reasonable accommodation request or any other employment-related issue, our experienced team is here to help. Contact us today for a consultation with a Los Angeles reasonable accommodation attorney to ensure your rights are protected and your needs are met.

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