Under federal law, a disabled person is one who: (a) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and (b) has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.  Employers must provide “reasonable accommodation” to qualified employees or applicants, if such an accommodation is necessary for the employee to be able to do his or her job.  A qualified employee or applicant is an individual who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation may include, for example, altering existing facilities to make them accessible to the disabled employee, modifying the employee’s work schedule, assigning them to a vacant position, or acquiring equipment that will allow the disabled employee to perform their job.  For example, a reasonable accommodation for an employee with diabetes who requires insulin injections may be to give the employee access to an office or other enclosed area where he or she may administer the insulin injections in private.

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee provided that it does not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business.  An undue hardship is an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of such factors as the employer’s size, resources and the nature and structure of the employer’s operation.

If you have any questions related to working with a disability or employment discrimination in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.