I Am Disabled. Is My Employer In Manhattan Required To Accommodate Me Or My Disability?
Laws requiring employers to reasonably accommodate workers’ disabilities consist of federal laws (that is, laws that govern the entire country), Manhattan State laws, and Manhattan laws.
Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, employers with 15 or more employees are required to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.
Similarly, under the Manhattan State Human Rights Law (the “State Human Rights Law” or “the NYSHRL”), it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer with four or more employees to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities, or pregnancy-related conditions, of an employee or prospective employee. Effective February 8, 2020, employers in Manhattan with one to three employees, too, will be prohibited from refusing to provide such reasonable accommodations.
However, the State Human Rights Law does not require an employer to provide accommodations that can be demonstrated to impose an undue hardship on the operation of an employer’s enterprise.
Within Manhattan, the Manhattan City Human Rights Law (the “City Human Rights Law” or “the NYCHRL”) requires an employer with four or more workers (whether employees or independent contractors) to provide a reasonable accommodation to enable a person with a disability to satisfy the essential requisites of a job, provided that the disability is known or should have been known by the employer. The City Human Rights Law also requires employers with four or more workers to reasonably accommodate (i) an employee’s religious practices, (ii) an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, and (iii) an employee’s needs as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking. The NYCHRL defines a “reasonable accommodation” as an accommodation that can be made that does not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the employer’s business. The employer has the burden of proving undue hardship.
In Manhattan, there is an affirmative defense in cases in which the need for reasonable accommodation is in dispute. Specifically, under the NYCHRL, it’s an affirmative defense that the disabled person could not, with reasonable accommodation, satisfy the essential requisites of the job.
An employer is not prohibited from banning the illegal use of drugs or alcohol at the workplace or on duty impairment from the illegal use of drugs or the use of alcohol. Further, an employer is not prohibited from conducting drug testing.
In Manhattan, an employer with four or more workers is required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” within a reasonable time with an individual who has requested an accommodation (whether related to a disability, religious practices, pregnancy or childbirth, or needs as a victim of domestic violence) or whom the employer has notice may require such an accommodation.
A “cooperative dialogue” means the process by which an employer and a person who is or may be entitled to an accommodation engage in good faith in a written or oral dialogue about the person’s accommodation needs; potential accommodations that may address the person’s needs, including alternatives to a requested accommodation; and the difficulties that such potential accommodations may pose for the employer.
After the employer concludes the cooperative dialogue and reaches a determination, the employer must give, to the requesting employee, a written final determination identifying any accommodation granted or denied.
If you are an executive or a professional in the Manhattan, NYC metro area and you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated or that your employer has failed or refused to reasonably accommodate your disability, call Manhattan Wrongful Termination Attorney David S. Rich at (347) 835-5688 today.
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