REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION UNDER THE NEW JERSEY LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION


The concept sounds simple, but how does an employer make sure it is in compliance with the obligations under the LAD? What is reasonable depends on all the fact and circumstances of the particular employment relationship at issue at that time. I recently settled a big case that I worked on for many years. The issue was reasonable accommodation of an employee, who was blind, secondary to diabetes. He needed magnification software for the computer work, which was only a small percentage of his overall job duties.

The employer said "no". Well, of course it was not that simple, but I don't have hours to tell you the whole story. The employer was a franchise who blamed it on the franchisor, who allegedly said the software would cause a virus. The Commission for the Blind was going to give the software for free to the employer. No other accommodation was offered to my client, who was then terminated.

Reasonable accommodation is a give and take and requires a "good faith" interactive process between the employer and employee. In other words you have to communicate and have meetings with the employee. The employee does not have the right to insist on the type of reasonable accommodations, if others exist. You have the right to request a medical note or other documentation to support the employee's request. You need a written job description so that the "essential job functions" are defined.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodation include, but are not limited to the following:

 

 

Under the LAD's amendment in 2008, an employer is also required to reasonably accommodate an employee's "sincerely held religious beliefs." More about that topic another day. Remember when it comes to your employment policies, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you would like more information on this subject, kindly contact my office in Brick, New Jersey through our website by clicking here or you can give us a call at 732-785-0800.