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Common reasons for denial of a reasonable accommodation

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

Under federal law, your employer must consider your request for a reasonable accommodation for your disability. However, companies can deny a reasonable accommodation request when they have a valid reason to do so.

Your employer should engage in an interactive process with you — which would require the employer to discuss alternatives with you if the accommodation you propose would not work for the employer.

Understanding common reasons for the denial of a reasonable accommodation request can guide your next steps if this occurs.

Reasons for denial

Your employer can claim undue hardship, which means it would be too expensive or difficult for them to provide the proposed accommodation. The determination of undue hardship varies based on the type of business as well as its size and financial resources. Consider cost when requesting accommodation. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 59% of reasonable accommodation requests have no associated cost and the other 41% cost an average of $500.

Your employer might also deny your request if it does not directly help you perform your job. Accommodations should enable you to complete your work tasks. If your request seems more like a personal preference, your employer may not agree that it is necessary.

In addition, employers typically require documentation of your disability and how it affects your work. If you do not provide sufficient information, they may deny your reasonable accommodation request. This documentation helps your employer understand your needs and determine appropriate accommodations.

Steps after a denied request

If your employer denies your reasonable accommodation request, the first step is to ask for a written explanation. It can help you understand their reasoning and determine your next steps.

Next, consider requesting a meeting with your employer to discuss their decision. Prepare to suggest alternative accommodations that might be easier for them to provide. You should also present additional documentation to support your request at this meeting.

Many disability rights organizations offer support and information on how to handle denied reasonable accommodation requests. They can guide you on how to communicate effectively with your employer and suggest resources that might help your case.

Understanding why your employer might deny your reasonable accommodation request and knowing how to respond allow you to navigate this challenging situation. Communication and flexibility support a positive outcome for both you and your employer.

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