What is “undue hardship” under the ADA?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2020 | employment law

Many federal employment laws strive to strike a balance between individual and business interests. This holds true for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under that law, businesses are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled individuals to perform their job duties. However, complying with accommodation requests can be expensive, time consuming, and downright difficult. This might even put your business’s wellbeing at risk.

Assessing undue hardship

Fortunately, the law exempts businesses from making accommodations when doing so poses an undue hardship on them. What constitutes an undue hardship? An accommodation that causes undue hardship is one that is significantly difficult to implement or is significantly costly. Exactly what constitutes an undue hardship is determined on a case-by-case basis, though, which means that the accommodation request will be analyzed in light of your business and its resources. As such, bigger businesses with larger profits are, generally speaking, expected to make greater accommodations.

What if an accommodation request is deemed too difficult or too costly?

Your work to address the matter doesn’t stop there. Instead, you need to consider whether there are appropriate accommodations that you can offer the employee that don’t cause an undue hardship. You should also consult with the employee to see if he or she is willing to cover certain costs to the point that the accommodation would become reasonable and not create an undue hardship. In short, before denying an accommodation request, its best to show that you’ve made efforts to work collaboratively with your employee to make sure that he or she is accommodated in the workplace. These efforts can go a long way toward protecting you from any future litigation over the matter.

Find help for your employment law issues

Issues pertaining to state and federal employment law are oftentimes an unexpected aspect of running a business. While you might want to get past them as quickly as possible so that you can focus on your primary business, you shouldn’t cut corners. By working with an experienced employment law attorney from the beginning you can better protect your interests and set the stage for future success.