Undue hardship can be understood as some specific scenarios when an individual or organization absolves (partially or entirely) themselves from performing a legal obligation for avoiding any irrational, disproportionate, or sky-high burdens, hurdles, or hindrances.
In an organizational setup, employers are supposed to give some reasonable accommodation to some of the qualified persons with disabilities, but in cases when such accommodations cause unbalanced burden and substantial difficulty on the employer and become highly wearisome for the smooth channelization of the organization- Then such circumstances come under undue hardship.
As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, in the cases when employers are dealing with undue hardships in their business channelization, they are no more required to make those accommodations. This post will take you deep into the world of what is an undue hardship and what the associated concepts are-
What is Undue Hardship?
Undue hardship is a term that comes in as an aspect of the relationship between an employer and an employee. Employers need to keep in mind the fact that they should not make the employee’s accommodation be defined as an ‘Undue hardship.’
As a particular action that requires significant difficulty or expense to accomplish it judiciously. The occurrence of undue hardship varies with the cases, and they are commonly attributed to certain factors like size, nature, resources at hand, the imposing circumstances of the employer, and so on.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule of determining the boundaries of what exactly the term undue hardship surmounts. There is no given mathematical formula or practice to calculate and determine a given accommodation as an undue hardship.
Concepts of undue hardships were introduced for limiting the burden of employers while handling accommodation. Every situation is different from the others in the accommodation cases, and that is why the one-size-fits-all theory cannot be applied in gauging undue hardships on an employer.
Concepts of Accommodation in Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Here, you need to understand that an employer is an individual in commerce who has 15 or 15+ employees. Such employers are supposed to follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
According to Title I of the 1990 ADA, if the accommodation is right and reasonable, employers must ensure this for the qualified people with disabilities who either are the employees or the applicants for a job.
Hence, people with disabilities will receive the needed accommodation for handling their job necessities. Plus, they will also get equal opportunities in the recruitment process.
Now, comes the factors whose occurrence allow an employer to consider giving accommodations
- If accommodation reduces the safety of the workplace
- If accommodation infringes on the rights of the employees
- If giving accommodation breaks any other law
- If accommodation hurts employee benefits
- If offering accommodation minimizes efficiency in other areas of the business
In addition to these, let us have a look upon the ways through which an employee can find out if accommodation is undue hardship or not-
How to Determine the Occurrence of Undue Hardship
While determining whether a given accommodation may be defined as an undue hardship, it is essential to pay heed to certain factors. These factors are as follows:
- Quality, the kind and total cost of the accommodation
- The net financial resources at hand (of the employer)
- Total number of employees working under the given employer
- The details of number, kind as well as location of the given employer’s company
- The operation details of the employer
- Structure, components, and the functionalities of the workforce working under the employer
- Geographical separation or boundaries of the accommodation
- Administrative relation between the facility at hand and the accommodation promised
- Employee’s nature of duties towards the company or employer
- The quality and kind of workplace
- Identification of the accommodation with regards to the size and the operational costs that the employer would have to incur
- Number of employees in need of a particular kind of accommodation
- Whether or not the accommodation compromises with the safety of the workplace
- Whether or not the accommodation compromises with the infringement of the rights of other fellow employees
While determining, you also need to know those reasonable accommodations that, according to ADA, will not cause undue hardship-
Reasonable accommodations that do not cause Undue Hardship
- The hiring process
- Employment freedoms
- Benefits of employment
- Working conditions like
- Schedule changes or part-time requests
- Leave requests
- Reassignment to a vacant job
- Job restructuring
- Workplace policies, testing, or training changes
- Accessibility changes to the facility
- Obtaining or modifying equipment
All employees, as well as employers, need to keep their eyes and ears open at all costs.
Employers mustn’t impose any form of undue hardship on the part of the employee.
Furthermore, in case the cost of accommodation might seem to impose undue hardships on the part of the employer, actions need to be taken to make the situation better.
What is your take on undue hardships?
How would you define undue hardship after reading this post?