What to Do if an Employer Refuses Your Request for Accommodation

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What to Do if an Employer Refuses Your Request for Accommodation

Did an employer deny your request for accommodation? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), denying a reasonable accommodation request is illegal in some cases. 

What is a reasonable accommodation?

It's a change allowing a disabled person to perform his or her duties effectively. Moreover, the request allows disabled employees to work comfortably in the same manner as able-bodied employees. 

Legally, your employer must make attempts to accommodate your disability. However, you cannot make demands that would interfere with your employer's operations. 

This article will show you what to do if an employer denies your accommodation request. Let's explore. 

Note Your Concerns in Writing

Submit your request in writing if an employer ignores your request. You can also document your request via email. Submit your letter to the manager who denied your request.

If possible, send the letter to another supervisor. Another supervisor may get involved and override the decision of the person who denied your request. Send your notice to the human resources department as well.

When drafting your letter, include the following details:

  • The nature of the request in detail
  • Your entitlement to reasonable accommodations under the law
  • An explanation of ADA laws

Explaining ADA laws in your letter may clear up some confusion. Perhaps your employer isn't aware that ADA laws don't force employers to disrupt essential operations. If you explain the law, your employer may be more open to your request. 

The law doesn't compel you to outline the request in greater detail. However, noting the request in detail may clear up any miscommunication between you and your employer. You can also include a reasonable accommodation letter from your doctor to the employer. 

If your employer has a clearer understanding of your request, they may be willing to negotiate. If your employer still refuses your request, document the employer's negative response. From there, contact an employment attorney immediately. 

Find an Attorney

Find an attorney who specializes in employment cases and disability cases. Don't hire a general-practice attorney who has little experience in employment disputes.

Above all, hire an attorney with a track record of winning employment cases. When you find the right attorney, they will determine if you have a viable case.

Then, they will guide you through the legal process. Overall, an attorney can:

  • Help you collect all necessary evidence
  • Help you learn how to ask for a reasonable accommodation
  • Help you negotiate a positive outcome in the workplace

Your lawyer will be a crucial ally because employers typically relent when an attorney gets involved. Plus, the mere mention of an attorney may be enough to change your employer's mind. 

Additionally, your lawyer will investigate further. They will also determine if you're the victim of discrimination.

If so, you may have two options: filing an administrative complaint within the company or taking the matter to court. If you're the victim of discrimination, talk to your attorney about the best path forward. 

File a Complaint

An attorney may recommend filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal agency ensures that employers adhere to federal equal employment laws. Under federal law, employers cannot discriminate against a person due to their disability. 

Your attorney can guide you through the filing process. The EEOC will assess your request. If the agency accepts your request, an investigation will begin.

If the EEOC rules on your side, the employer must proceed with the accommodations. However, the EEOC may rule against you.

  • Note: You can also file a complaint with a state agency. The state agency will perform the same duties as the EEOC and launch an investigation. 

In other cases, the agency could deny your request before an investigation proceeds. The EEOC may also recommend that you pursue the matter in court.

Your attorney may also include a "right to sue" notice with your EEOC complaint. The notice allows you to pursue a claim in court if the EEOC doesn't find sufficient evidence of discrimination.  

The Negotiation Process

After the employer is willing to accommodate your request, allow your attorney to handle the negotiations. An attorney has the necessary skill to negotiate the best outcome for their clients.

Your attorney can also bring up future accommodations. More importantly, you don't have to become mired in stressful negotiations with an attorney by your side.

Fear of Retaliation

You may fear that your employer will retaliate against you for making an accommodation request. If this occurs, talk to your lawyer immediately. Under the law, employers cannot retaliate against employees for making an ADA accommodation request.

To counter any type of retaliation, file with the EEOC to begin an investigation. With that, it's not always easy to tell if an employer has retaliated against you. Retaliation may come in the form of:

  • Reduced hours
  • Demotions
  • Denied vacation time
  • No sick leave
  • Firing

Therefore, talk to your attorney if you notice small things that indicate retaliation. Legal counsel can help you determine if an employer has retaliated against you. 

A Request for Accommodation: Is It Worth the Hassle? 

Your request for accommodation is worth the hassle. Also, employers cannot retaliate against you for making a reasonable request. If an employer denies your claim, submit your request in writing.

If the employer continues to deny your claim, contact an attorney. Your lawyer may recommend filing a complaint with the EEOC. In other cases, you may have to take your employer to court, especially if your employer had discriminated against you. 

Are you a disabled person looking for sit-down jobs? Click here to learn some helpful tips.