Is There a Limit to How Much Reasonable Accommodation Can Cost?

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws, employees with disabilities enjoy a number of protections that permit them to pursue fulfilling careers. One of these important protections is the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation to help them perform essential functions at work. 

Reasonable accommodation can include the following and more:

  • Adjusting office layout to accommodate a wheelchair
  • Special furniture or workspace arrangements
  • Software that accommodates a disability
  • Reserved parking space near workplace entrance 
  • Exchanging certain non-essential duties with a coworker
  • Increased number or duration of breaks 
  • Alternative schedule arrangements

There are very limited circumstances under which an employer can successfully deny a request for reasonable accommodation. When an employee submits a request, the employer is generally obligated to comply or discuss alternative arrangements with the employee. 

What Does Reasonable Accommodation Cost?

While some employers can successfully argue that affording certain levels of accommodation is financially infeasible, there is technically no limit to what an employee can request

That said, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) notes that the cost of accommodation can actually be very inexpensive – often costing absolutely nothing in the majority of cases. JAN has been running a continuous survey of the cost of accommodation at work since 2004. It has found that the median amount of accommodation that does cost employers is about $500. 

Employers who expect to deny reasonable accommodation they cannot afford must prove that it presents an undue hardship upon their businesses. But because of no-cost alternatives that work for the majority of employers or expenses totally typically no more than $500, employers would be hard-pressed to escape a lawsuit for not complying with the request in some way. 

This means disabled employees should be upfront, honest, and bold about what their needs are when it comes to performing essential functions of their job. If their employer fails to comply, they may be liable for damages in an employment discrimination lawsuit.

Should you request legal representation to help you advocate for your right to reasonable accommodation, reach out to Limonjyan Law Group online