Failing to accommodate disabled employees has legal implications

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Employment Law |

Failing to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees can lead to fines for Delaware corporations. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that companies who hire disabled workers have in place–or be willing to institute–accommodations that help them do their jobs.

Stiff penalties await employers found guilty of violating the tenets of Title I of the ADA. Under Title I, companies are required to have an accommodating work environment for the disabled employees who request it. If an employer elects to discharge the requesting employee, that is grounds to file a complaint with the EEOC. However, the company would be exempt from Title I requirements if the requests would cause undue hardship for the business.

Limited mobility is not the only issue disabled workers face

The harsh reality of life as an employee with disabilities recently came to the forefront with a hefty settlement in a response to a lawsuit filed by the EEOC. A disabled woman recently received more than $100,000 in a settlement because her employer refused to revamp her work environment and terminated her employment instead. Because her discharge was discriminatory, the EEOC sued her company. They were able to reach a pre-trial settlement, thus obviating the need for a trial in court. Most importantly, it validated the dignity and legal rights of a disabled woman who the law protected.

Additionally, her former employer signed on to integrate additional measures that will ensure their compliance with Title I. As part of the settlement, it will implement training on incorporating courses of action to ensure conditions are appropriate for the disabled. The company has further agreed to communicate to the EEOC for two years requests it receives for reasonable accommodations. Disabled workers will need not fear retribution or losing their jobs for requesting specific accommodations or suggesting recommendations to make the facility more accessible.

Change doesn’t always move at the pace of business

In an era of global enterprise and technological sophistication, some of the basics, like attending to the special needs of disabled employees, are still a work in progress. The outcome of the above case demonstrates the continued need for business oversight, but more importantly, things are moving in the right direction.