Under federal and state law, employees with disabilities who can perform essential job functions are entitled to reasonable accommodations. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Determining essential job functions is even more subjective. Some factors to consider include the education and skills the job requires and the number of other people who could perform the job.
These subjective definitions give companies a chance to discriminate against disabled employees. If that happens, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refuses to step in, a Chicago disability discrimination lawyer stands up for victims. An attorney obtains the financial compensation these victims need and deserve. Additionally, and probably more importantly, an attorney brings the discrimination to light and thus helps stop the company from discriminating against other workers.
Most employers have handicapped parking spaces. But there is a difference between handicapped and disabled, which means many disabled individuals do not qualify for such spots. A parking space that is a few rows closer to the door makes a big difference to someone with a physical disability. These individuals expend less energy getting to work, so they have more energy at work.
Work Area Accessibility
Large computer monitors for sight-impaired people and specially-designed chairs for people with back trouble are the two most common examples in this area. Some individuals might also need modified computer software or a height-adjusted workstation. Once again, disabled individuals usually do not need major accommodations. A mild accommodation often makes a big difference.
Persons with mental disabilities often need assistants. These individuals sometimes perform some menial tasks, like filing or answering the phone, so a disabled individual can concentrate on core job functions. Other times, assistants keep disabled individuals on-task and remind them about upcoming meetings and other events. The helper doesn’t have to be a full-time assistant. A helper could be a coworker who gets paid a little extra money to give another coworker a helping hand.
Adjusted Work Schedule
Physically disabled individuals often have trouble getting out of bed. Once they are up, the rest of the day is downhill. Changing an 8-to-5 job to a 9-to-6 job makes a big difference. Other individuals need to schedule accommodations for things like doctors’ appointments. The Family Medical Leave Act could provide the necessary accommodation in these situations.
An adjusted work schedule could also mean working from home, at least on certain days. Before the pandemic, such accommodations were unreasonable under federal law. But the coronavirus changed a lot of things, including the availability of telecommuting as a reasonable disability accommodation.
Reassignment to an Open Position
Pregnant women who work a blue-collar job at night often ask for a transfer to a light-duty daytime assignment. These requests are reasonable as long as the mother has the basic skills necessary to do the job.
Incidentally, a “reasonable” accommodation implies some give-and-take between employer and employee. That’s usually not the case. If the employee requests an accommodation, and the employee has the medical documents or other paperwork to support that request, that request is reasonable.
Contact a Dedicated Cook County Attorney
Job bias victims have legal options in Illinois. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago disability discrimination attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.