Rochester, NY asked in Employment Discrimination for New York

Q: Are employers required to make accommodations for wheelchair users who have a temporary injury under the ADA?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers

Emre Polat Esq.

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Yes, to the extent it is not unduly burdensome on the employer's business.

V. Jonas Urba

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Tarrytown, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The following language is directly from the EEOC's guidance on accommodating disabled employees. I deleted Examples A, B, D because they are not specifically wheelchair requests:

How must an individual request a reasonable accommodation?

When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual or his/her representative must let the employer know that s/he needs an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. To request accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation."(19)

Example C: A new employee, who uses a wheelchair, informs the employer that her wheelchair cannot fit under the desk in her office. This is a request for reasonable accommodation.

While an individual with a disability may request a change due to a medical condition, this request does not necessarily mean that the employer is required to provide the change. A request for reasonable accommodation is the first step in an informal, interactive process between the individual and the employer. In some instances, before addressing the merits of the accommodation request, the employer needs to determine if the individual's medical condition meets the ADA definition of "disability,"(20) a prerequisite for the individual to be entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

The definition of disability:

In enacting the ADAAA, Congress made it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the statute. Congress overturned several Supreme Court decisions that Congress believed had interpreted the definition of “disability” too narrowly, resulting in a denial of protection for many individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy. The ADAAA states that the definition of disability should be interpreted in favor of broad coverage of individuals. The EEOC regulations implement the ADAAA -- in particular, Congress’s mandate that the definition of disability be construed broadly. Following the ADAAA, the regulations keep the ADA’s definition of the term “disability” as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record (or past history) of such an impairment; or being regarded as having a disability. But the regulations implement the significant changes that Congress made regarding how those terms should be interpreted. The regulations implement Congress’s intent to set forth predictable, consistent, and workable standards by adopting “rules of construction” to use when determining if an individual is substantially limited in performing a major life activity.These rules of construction are derived directly from the statute and legislative history and include the following:

The term “substantially limits” requires a lower degree of functional limitation than the standard previously applied by the courts . An impairment does not need to prevent or severely or significantly restrict a major life activity to be considered “substantially limiting.” Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability. The term “substantially limits” is to be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment, as was true prior to the ADAAA. With one exception (“ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses”), the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures, such as medication or hearing aids. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active. In keeping with Congress’s direction that the primary focus of the ADA is on whether discrimination occurred.......

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.