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Joshua Newville, Minnesota Employment Lawyer, Civil Rights Attorney, and Mediator

State and federal laws require employers to reasonable accommodate an employee's serious health condition. This means employers must generally work with employees in making adjustments that help the employee perform the essential functions of their position.  

Minnesota Mediator for Failure to Accommodate Disability Claims

As a mediator who has also long practiced as a civil rights and employment law attorney, I have more than a decade of experience with the law regarding disability accommodations in employment. If you need a mediator or investigator for this area of law, please consider contacting me today. 

What is a legal claim for failure to accommodate disability in employment?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way tasks are usually done that enables a person with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Failure to accommodate is a form of disability discrimination. It occurs when an employer does not make reasonable efforts to accommodate an employee's disability so they can perform the essential functions of their job. This failure can occur in several ways:


  • Ignoring the Request: The employer does not respond or take steps to initiate a discussion about the requested accommodation.

  • Denying the Request Without Proper Evaluation: The employer denies the request without considering the nature of the disability, the employee's job duties, or the potential solutions.

  • Refusing to Discuss Alternate Accommodations: If the specific accommodation requested by the employee cannot be provided, the employer is still required to engage in an interactive process to identify other possible accommodations. If the employer refuses to discuss or consider alternate accommodations, this can constitute a failure to accommodate.

What are the steps involved in requesting a reasonable accommodation in employment?

A request to accommodate disability can include the following steps:

  • Establishing a Disability: The employee must first prove that they have a disability as defined by the ADA or MHRA.

  • Notification of Disability: The employee must inform the employer of their disability and that they are in need of an accommodation. This doesn't have to follow a particular format or use specific language, but it must effectively communicate the need for an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition.

  • Engaging in an Interactive Process: After being notified, the employer is obligated to engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify what accommodations might be necessary and feasible.

  • Providing Accommodation: Unless it would cause undue hardship, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to perform their job.

If the employer fails to comply with these requirements, the employee may have grounds to file a lawsuit. The remedies for a successful claim can include job reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages (for emotional distress, for example), punitive damages, and payment of attorney's fees and court costs. If you have questions regarding a request/failure to accommodate disability, it is recommended to consult with an attorney to better understand your rights, obligations, and possible legal actions.

Related Topics:

Minnesota Disability Discrimination Attorney
Minnesota Public Accommodation Discrimination Attorney
Minnesota Employment Discrimination Attorney
Minnesota Education Discrimination Attorney
Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
Minnesota Legal Investigations Attorney
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