Reasonable Accommodations

Employers must reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities so they can perform the essential functions of their job. This means an employer may be required to change its ordinary work rules, terms, conditions, or facilities in order to enable employees with disabilities to work. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations or refusing to hire a person with a disability in order to avoid having to provide reasonable accommodations is discrimination under both federal and state law.

Reasonable accommodations are considered on a case by case basis, but some common examples include:

Allowing an employee to telecommute or modify their work schedule

Providing specific equipment or software to an employee to allow them to do their job, such as speech recognition software or an ergonomic workstation

Allowing an employee to bring a service animal to work

Transferring an employee to a different position

Allowing an employee to take a leave of absence even if the leave is not covered by another statute that provides job-protected leave

An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation unless the employer can affirmatively demonstrate that providing reasonable accommodations would be an “undue hardship.” This is a high standard and accommodations that merely inconvenience an employer must be provided.


If an employee requests a reasonable accommodation (or if an employer knows that an employee may need a reasonable accommodation), both the employer and the employee have a duty to “engage in the interactive process.” This means that if the initial accommodation discussed will not work for either the employer or the employee, they have a duty to discuss different options to determine what accommodations will work. An employer’s failure to engage in the interactive process is a separate violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, and an employer’s refusal to participate in this process may result in liability.

The attorneys at The Schlehr Law Firm know that it can be difficult to get the reasonable accommodation you need. If your employer has refused to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, or terminated your employment because you requested a reasonable accommodation or because you were out on a leave due to disability, we are available to answer your questions and advocate on your behalf.

Reach Out & Say Hello