In the second part of a two-part series, we will explain how the Reasonable Accommodation process works.

In general, the reasonable accommodation requirement starts when the employer learns of the employee’s need for a change and that the need is related to a medical condition. The employee does not have to expressly say the words “I need a reasonable accommodation for my disability.” The employee simply needs to make a request for a change that will allow him or her to perform the essential job functions, and it needs to be noted that the request is due to a medical condition.

After an employer gets a request for a reasonable accommodation, the next step is to use an interactive process to determine whether the request will be granted. This process requires an interaction between the employer and employee to determine what reasonable accommodations the employer may be able to provide. This process does not have to be formal or even in writing. However, it may be best for the employer to document the interactions. The interactive process should clarify the individual’s needs and assess what accommodations might meet those needs.

The employer and employee may discuss possibilities of reasonable accommodations. Then the employer assesses which alternative might work best. Of course the employee should have input. However, the employee’s first choice of accommodation does not have to be the final selection if the employer can offer an alternative that still allows the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Note, the only reason an employer can deny a reasonable accommodation request is if it would present an undue hardship on the employer. An undue hardship could be financial, or it could mean that it is too disruptive to implement. However, the undue hardship standard is a very high threshold to cross. It takes into account the finances and performance of the company. That said, an employer is not obligated to remove essential job functions either. If the employee is unable to perform essential job functions and no reasonable accommodation exists, that employee may no longer be qualified to perform the job.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (818) 918-5522 or visit if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.


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