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Reasonable accommodation for disabled employees at work

Pennsylvania workers may know that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if that individual is disabled. However, knowing what the employer's legal responsibility is and what rights a disabled employee has is important, so a worker may ensure that his or her rights are not violated.

Under the law, an employer is required to take steps to accommodate a disabled employee. However, because the language under the law is not clearly spelled out, some lawsuits filed by disabled employees may end up in court. For employers, the law does include an undue hardship clause, which means that if making modifications for the employee might be significantly difficult or costly, the employer might not be obligated to comply.

Reasonable accommodations might include installing a ramp, switching to a different type of desk or chair, changing the lighting or other similar adjustments. If the employee has been working in a job that he or she may no longer be able to perform, the employer might move that employee into a different job position. For example, when an employee is required to lift a certain amount of weight, another person might help the employee if lifting weights is not a major part of the job. However, an employee who previously loaded boxes onto a truck and became disabled might not be covered because lifting those boxes was a significant part of the job.

A disabled individual who believes that he or she was a victim of workplace discrimination may benefit from consultation with an attorney experienced in employment law. An attorney may help by reviewing the details of the case, determining whether discrimination was involved and filing a legal action to protect the worker's rights.

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