What is a reasonable accommodation for a disability and how can I request it from my employer?

Working with a disability does not have to be stressful. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. A qualified individual with a disability is someone who fulfills what the position is requiring of an applicant, for example: skill set, experience, education, and any other job-related requirement. It is someone who can perform the basic duties the position entails either with or without reasonable accommodation/s.

All government agencies, and most employers, are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to both qualified applicants and employees. The only time they would be unable to provide reasonable accommodation is if doing so would pose a direct threat or cause an undue hardship. Otherwise, employers must provide reasonable accommodations (adjustment or alteration), to provide applicants/employees an equal opportunity to compete for a job, equal access to benefits and privileges of employment, and/or to be able to perform the essential functions of the job.

Reasonable accommodations may look like the following:

  • Moving to a different office space;
  • Granting breaks or providing leave;
  • Providing accessible parking;
  • Providing telework or working remotely (including working from home);
  • Providing materials in alternative formats like large print or Braille; or
  • Changing when or how job duties are performed.

Under state and federal laws, individuals with disabilities have a right to request reasonable accommodations that will allow individuals to perform all the essential functions of the job. A job should not have to be burdensome to an individual with disabilities and reasonable accommodations should be request if needed. An employer is not allowed to retaliate against an employee who asks for reasonable accommodation, or who receives an accommodation.

If you feel you have experienced discrimination or retaliation at work related to your disability, our attorneys at Kitzer Rochel are here to help. We advocate on behalf of employees facing discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower issues in the workplace.