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Reasonable accommodation for disabled employees

If you have a disability, federal and Missouri law may require employers to provide reasonable accommodation that would enable you to perform your job duties. Refusing to accommodate can be discrimination and may violate the law.

There are several complex issues to consider when determining if illegal discrimination has actually occurred. Some people grit their teeth and accept extremely unfair treatment, while others may see every annoyance as cause for a lawsuit. If you suspect your employer is acting in a discriminatory way, consulting an attorney with experience in this legal area is the best way to assess your situation and possible options.

Who must provide accommodations

In Missouri, laws about disability accommodations apply to all types of employers with at least six employees. To be eligible for accommodation, you must also meet the legal requirements for a disability. Generally speaking, this means having an impairment that seriously affects one or more major life activities. Disabilities may be physical or mental.

Employer must know of the disability

In order to be required to provide accommodation, the employer must actually know of the disability. The best way to ensure you can show knowledge is to inform your employer in writing and likewise request reasonable accommodation in writing. However, even without an official announcement, your employer is likely aware of your disability if it is clearly visible or otherwise a matter of common knowledge in the workplace.

What is reasonable accommodation?

Common types of reasonable accommodations include modifying work schedules, ensuring accessibility of the workplace premises, reassignment of nonessential job duties to another person, providing assistive devices or personnel. In order to be reasonable, an accommodation must not cause an undue hardship for the employer. For this reason, not everything on the nonexclusive list of typical accommodations above would actually be reasonable for every employer. For example, restructuring or reassigning job duties is probably easier for a large company with greater flexibility and numbers of personnel than it is for a small operation with little room for redundancy.