I Need an Accommodation at Work: How Do I Know What's Reasonable?

In accordance with Texas and federal laws, employers with at least 15 employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities. Failure to do so could lead to discrimination claims against the employer.

However, it is important to understand the specification that employers must provide only reasonable accommodations. This can be difficult to interpret, especially when employers and employees don't agree on what "reasonable" looks like. Below, we examine what a reasonable accommodation might be as well as what you can do if you feel like your employee has violated your rights under disability and discrimination laws.

What makes an accommodation unreasonable?

To understand what a reasonable accommodation is, it can be helpful to know what makes an accommodation unreasonable. 

An accommodation becomes unreasonable when it places an undue hardship on the employer. If it costs too much money, exhausts too many resources or significantly changes the purpose of your job, an accommodation could be deemed unreasonable.

However, requests like more frequent breaks, earlier or later work shifts, handicap-accessible equipment or adjustments in training materials typically fall into the reasonable request category.

What to do if your request for reasonable accommodation is not fulfilled

If you have made a request for an accommodation you believe is reasonable but it was either dismissed or never put into place, then you could have grounds to file a legal claim. 

Failure to provide reasonable accommodations opens employers up to claims that they are discriminating against a disabled worker. This is because failing to provide reasonable accommodations prohibits disabled employees from enjoying the same benefits and/or privileges as other employees.

Do not assume you are powerless or without recourse in these situations. Any person with questions or concerns regarding workplace accommodations has the right to consult an attorney to learn about their legal options.