Reasonable Accommodation Under the LAD

New Jersey Lawyer December 2014

Maxine Neuhauser, Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, and Jiri Janko, Associate in the Labor and Employment practice, in the firm’s Newark office, authored an article in New Jersey Lawyer, titled “Reasonable Accommodation Under the LAD.”

Following is an excerpt (see below for a PDF of the full article):

Determining whether an accommodation imposes an undue hardship requires a case-by-case analysis that takes into account numerous factors. These factors include: the size of the employer’s workforce, facilities and budget; the type of the employer’s operations (including the composition and structure of the employer’s workforce); the nature and cost of the accommodation required; and the extent to which accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job. Thus, employers should also engage in an internal interactive process, which may need to include various stakeholders, including human resources, management, supervisors, and, also, conceivably, a union, if the workforce is organized.

The regulations implementing the LAD, and, now the statute itself, provide examples of accommodations an employer might be required to provide. These include making facilities used by employees readily accessible and usable by people with disabilities, job restructuring (including part-time or modified work schedules), acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; job reassignment, bathroom breaks, periodic rest, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or less hazardous work. The lists are intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive. Moreover, the examples are not per se reasonable; in other words, employees are not automatically entitled to one or more of the specifically enumerated accommodations. If the accommodation will create an undue hardship on the employer, it need not be provided.