Reasonable accommodations under the law can include changes to the physical work environment, or to the job.
Changes of the former type include making facilities accessible and usable for persons with disabilities.
Factors the employer may consider in weighing undue hardship include: 1) the nature and cost of the accommodation; 2) the financial resources of the facility requiring the accommodation; 3) the number of workers at the facility; 4) the impact of the accommodation on the facility's expenses, resources or operations; 5) the employer's overall size, nature and resources; 6) the type of operations covered; and 7) the relationship between the facilities covered and the business entity (employer) as a whole.
The standards for reasonable accommodation and undue hardship have proven difficult for courts to apply.
Courts determine the reasonableness of the accommodation on a case-by-case basis.
What might be reasonable in one context may not be in another.
For example, if a person in an office job needed help from another employee to lift items weighing over 25 pounds, such help may be totally reasonable.
Yet it is also a fairly recent law, which employers and courts are still working to understand and apply.Thus, employers don't know whether it's their duty, or the employee's, to propose changes that would allow the employee to perform the job.The EEOC's position is that the employer and employee should engage in an interactive process to discover what measures would be appropriate.This position has not been established in federal regulations, however, and is not binding on the courts.As a result, some courts require an interactive process with the employer taking some affirmative role, and some do not.
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The ADA has had a positive effect on the placement of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.