Reasonable Accommodations For Disabilities
In both New Jersey and New York, employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. A reasonable accommodation is a way to allow a disabled employee to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
Depending on the circumstances, reasonable accommodations can include modifications to the way a task is performed, special equipment or technology, or even time off from work. For example, depending on the circumstances it can be a reasonable accommodation to allow you to work from home, or to allow you to take a medical leave while you recover from a temporary condition such as one caused by surgery, a change in your mediation, or another temporary increase in your symptoms.
Not All Accommodations Are Reasonable
While the law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations, it does not require them to provide accommodations that are unreasonable. Generally, an accommodation is reasonable as long as its cost does not outweigh its benefit. In addition, your employer is not required to provide an accommodation that would eliminate or waive an essential function of your job.
An Interactive Process to Identify a Reasonable Accommodation
If you request a reasonable accommodation for a disability, your employer must engage in an interactive process with you to discuss how it can accommodate you. While the company is not necessarily required to offer the accommodation you requested, it must provide an accommodation that allows you to perform the essential function of your job if one exists. Failing to provide a reasonable accommodation is a form of disability discrimination and is legally actionable.
Reasonable Accommodations For Religious Beliefs
Similarly, companies are required to provide reasonable accommodates for an employee's religious beliefs. Often, this means the company must modify your work schedule so you do not have to work on a religious holiday or Sabbath. Depending on the circumstances it also can mean allowing you to take time off for prayer during the work day, wearing garments or clothing required by your religion, or other special permission or modifications to your job to accommodate your religious beliefs.
However, accommodations for your religion are not required if you still would not be able to perform an essential function of your job, or if they would cause an undue hardship to your employer.
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