"[A]n employer's failure to grant a reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee falls under the ADA's definition of discrimination." This comes from the opinion of the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, in its recent case, Tchankpa v. Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
As with all employment discrimination questions, however, there are important considerations for this rule:
(1) is the accommodation reasonable? For an accommodation to be reasonable, whatever the accommodation may be in a particular case, it must still permit the employee to do the essential functions of his or her job while not imposing an undue burden or hardship on the employer.
(2) does the accommodation still allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job, which requires identifying what are the jobs essential functions.
(3) The burden, which is usually going to mean cost or expense but also can mean disruption to the business, on the employer cannot be undue or, put more plainly, too much. All of these questions and issues will vary from case to case.
Still, the rule stands: the failure to grant a reasonable accommodation to an disabled employee does constitute disability discrimination under both federal Americans With Disabilities Act and Kentucky state law.
Lexington, Kentucky ADA and disability discrimination lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and employees in disability discrimination cases; contact him at 859-254-7076.