Eric B. Meyer with Reasonable Accommodations 101.
Eric B. Meyer of The Employer Handbook posted this on 3/01/2021: Rather than pay about $2,000 to install automatic doors, an employer loses a $650K disability discrimination verdict instead. https://us10.campaign-archive.com/?e=605e0f09f1&u=41fab58a900ff039c399dedb8&id=026bdb1857
Going straight to the Employer Takeaways:
“At trial, the plaintiff testified that he was “tired, frustrated, [and] angry” that he never heard a response to his request; he believed the defendants did not wish to accommodate him. And it’s not as if adding the push-button access would have created an undue hardship. Heck, the defendants stipulated that it wouldn’t.
They didn’t communicate … at all. And that is why the jury slammed them with punitive damages too. Heck, the defendants could’ve installed 325 push-button doors, and that doesn’t include the attorney’s fees that the defendants had to pay their own lawyer. Plus, because the plaintiff prevailed on his discrimination claim, the defendants will have to pay his attorney’s fees too.
This is reasonable accommodations 101. When an employee requests an accommodation for a disability to enable him to perform the job’s essential functions, you need to respond. Then you can have a good-faith, interactive dialogue to determine what can be done to accommodate the employee without creating any undue hardship.” (bolded texted added by yours truly).
Even more importantly (in my opinion) than the financial reasons are the employee relations consequences of such bad management.
Be sure to consult with an employment-savvy lawyer licensed in your state on how to ensure your managers know how to recognize and respond to employee requests.
Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.
© 2021 Michael S. Oswald