Physical and mental disabilities are conditions that may require individuals to experience life in different ways that individuals who are considered able bodied. Illnesses, injuries and genetics are common causes of disabilities in Illinois residents but the presence of a disability in a person does not in any way indicate that that individual is incapable of having a self-sufficient and thriving life. Laws exist that prevent employers from excluding disabled workers from positions in their organizations and from firing employees who become disabled.
For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for employers to establish employment standards that make it impossible for disabled individuals to qualify for jobs or to promote discriminatory practices in their organizations. Under the ADA employers must also make reasonable accommodations to their disabled employees to ensure that they are able to do the work they are hired to do.
A person who is in a wheelchair may suffer from no cognitive or mental deficiencies and may be at the top of their field in a particular professional discipline. However, they may not be able to reach a standard desk to use their computer at their employer’s headquarters. Under the ADA, that employee may be entitled to a special wheelchair-accessible desk to allow them to do the work they are trained to do.
A new desk may be considered a reasonable accommodation; it is important for readers to understand that not all accommodations will be considered reasonable. An accommodation that may be a financial hardship to an employer or one that may disrupt the business of the employer may not be considered reasonable.
Consultation with an employment law attorney is a good first step for a person to take to learn more about the types of accommodations they may be entitled to under the ADA. This post provides general information on an employment law topic and should not be considered legal advice.