What Happens if an Employer Cannot Accommodate Work Restrictions?

If an employer cannot accommodate any work restrictions, it may be possible to get reasonable accommodations. Receiving medical treatments, physical therapy sessions and taking medications all affect someone’s ability to perform daily. For example, suppose the employee has a disability that prevents them from working in their current position. In that case, they may change positions within the company or take on another job with similar responsibilities. If this is not possible and employers are unwilling to provide reasonable accommodations, then the employee would have grounds for filing a complaint of discrimination against their employer under Title I of The Americans with Disabilities Act.

The responsibilities of an employer

  • Employers are to provide a safe work environment for the employee and do their best to accommodate any disabilities that may prevent them from performing certain duties. Title II supports employers by ensuring that employment opportunities are available to all individuals.
  • Employers can work with disabled employees, but if they do not accommodate them and provide reasonable accommodations, it may be considered discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • Provide rehabilitation services. An employer may need to provide a disabled employee with rehabilitation services. For example, an individual who has been injured on the job and cannot return to their original duties will be placed in another position until they are healthy enough for light-duty or even well enough to leave work entirely.

Common Work restrictions that may be placed on an employee.

Examples of reasonable accommodations to various work restrictions;

1) An employee has difficulty lifting heavy items due to their disability.

A possible solution could be for the employer to purchase or bring in equipment that will assist with this problem so long as it does not pose any safety risks.
The employer can provide a dolly or another tool to help the employee lift heavy items.

2) An individual has difficulty typing

Use voice recognition software as accommodation for this work restriction.
Employer’s reasonable accommodations may include providing the individual with dictation equipment, allowing them to use their personal computer.

3) An individual is unable to work on a computer due to their disability.

A possible solution could be for the employer to provide them with an alternative method of completing assignments that do not require a computer, such as voice recognition software, dictation equipment or allowing them to use their device.

4) An individual has difficulty hearing

An employer could provide them with closed captioning at meetings and allow them to take notes via audio recordings if it is not possible to install sound systems.

5) An individual has difficulty seeing or is blind.

They could provide the employee with large print documents, voice recognition software and dictation equipment to complete their tasks if they are unable to perform work on a computer due to this disability.

Compensation when I am under Work Restrictions:

Employers are to provide a safe work environment. This means that they should accommodate the employee in any way possible so long as it does not threaten safety or cause problems for other employees. If employers cannot reasonably accommodate an individual’s disability, this may be considered discrimination under The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Work restrictions place limitations on what tasks can and cannot be completed by an individual while at work. However, these limits will vary from person to person based upon their specific disabilities and will also change over time due to different medical conditions/injuries or treatments received (e.g., surgery).
Not everyone can perform all jobs within a company regardless if someone has previously been fully capable, but there needs to be an open dialogue between the employer and employee.
A job may be placed on hold until it is determined that they can return or if their work restrictions will no longer affect their ability to do this particular job within your company.

Talk to a lawyer

Talk to a lawyer if your work restrictions do not allow you to perform all of the essential functions required for a job. If possible, you should work with your employer and provide them with a doctor’s note stating that it is impossible for you to complete the required tasks.
Suppose they do not follow this request or cannot accommodate your disability in any other way. In that case, an attorney can help determine whether the company has violated The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

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