Enforcement of the ADA in Maryland

Employers in Maryland are required by federal law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law allows employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees who have a disability. Providing reasonable accommodations protects employers against employment litigation while also maintaining the civil rights of anyone with a disability. The law does provide exceptions for undue hardships regarding an employer’s legal obligations to provide accommodations. Under the federal employment law, a reasonable accommodation may include a change in the physical work environment or in the way that the workplace usually does things in order for an applicant or employee to function in the workplace. The three levels of reasonable accommodation include modifications to the job application process, modifications to the work environment and provision of equal benefits and privileges as employees without disabilities. Examples of what a reasonable accommodation could include are modification of work schedules and enhancing facilities access, such as building handicapped ramps. The law defines an undue hardship to be a significant difficulty or expense for the employer. The difficulty may be financial or may include substantial or disruptive changes that would alter the nature of the business. Employers are obligated to review each request for a reasonable accommodation individually. The employer must be able to document the extent of the hardship and show that accommodation would cause financial difficulty or business disruption. Employment litigation based upon the ADA generally places the burden of proof on the employer to show that an accommodation will cause undue hardship. Those who are seeking to demonstrate such hardship may benefit from working with an attorney who is familiar with employment law. That attorney could help a client with compliance and might offer representation if litigation occurs. Source: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act`“, October 13, 2014