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.