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FEHA's interactive process for accommodation requests

Last updated: May 3, 2023

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of California is a powerful tool for protecting the rights of workers throughout the state. It provides employees with legal protections from discrimination or harassment in the workplace, as well as protection from retaliation for asserting their rights. As part of these protections, FEHA requires employers to engage in an interactive process when it comes to accommodating requests related to disability.

This article will provide an overview of FEHA's interactive process for accommodation requests in California and explain what it entails.

FEHA's Interactive Process For Accommodation Requests

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a state law which mandates employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. FEHA also requires employers to engage in an interactive process when considering a request for such accommodation.

This interactive process involves communication between the employer and employee, where each party has the opportunity to discuss their needs and potential solutions or alternatives. The goal of this process is for both sides to work together towards finding an acceptable solution that will address the employee's disability-related needs without posing undue hardship on the employer. Employers who do not comply with these requirements may be subject to legal action by affected parties.

Types Of Accommodations Available

Many people may think that requesting an accommodation in California is a difficult, time-consuming process. But the truth is there are many types of accommodations available to those who need them. FEHA's interactive process for accommodation requests offers a structure and guidance to ensure everyone has access to the support they require.

Below is a list of some common forms of accommodation:

  • Reasonable modifications to physical or mental policies or procedures

  • Making existing facilities readily accessible to individuals with disabilities

  • Providing auxiliary aids and services such as interpreters, assistive listening devices, computer programs, etc.

  • Job restructuring

  • Modified work schedules

Moreover, employees can also request reasonable accommodations related to their personal needs including changing work hours to accommodate medical treatments or providing ergonomic furniture and equipment. The employer must evaluate each individual accommodation request on its own merits and decide if it is feasible without adversely affecting business operations. Furthermore, employers should remember that failing to appropriately respond to an employee’s reasonable accommodation request could lead to potential legal action from the EEOC or DFEH.

How To File An Accommodation Request

Filing an accommodation request with FEHA is a straightforward process. First, the individual must give written notice to his or her employer of their desire for reasonable accommodation. This should include information such as the disability that necessitates it and what type of help is needed in order to make work accessible. The employer then has the obligation to start an interactive dialogue with the employee about possible accommodations and how they might be implemented.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to engage in this process in good faith, which includes exploring all possibilities when considering different types of requests. They are also not allowed to refuse requests without providing compelling evidence against them. If no agreement can be reached between both parties, further measures may need to be taken, including filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH).

Enforcement And Legal Remedies

As the old adage goes, "where there is a law, there must be enforcement." This holds true for accommodation requests in California. In order to ensure that employers adhere to their legal obligations with respect to providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants, it is important to understand the enforcement mechanisms available under state and federal laws.

The primary sources of legal remedies for violations of discrimination or retaliation based on disability-related accommodation requests are Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). These statutes provide individuals with protection from discrimination in employment due to disability or medical condition by prohibiting covered entities from denying them access to jobs they are qualified for, including making reasonable accommodations as necessary.

Depending on which statute applies, an individual may pursue a complaint through either administrative procedures established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH), or file a lawsuit directly in court. Both forms of action typically involve filing paperwork with relevant governmental agencies before proceeding further into litigation if needed.

Individuals who successfully prove that they have been wrongfully denied a reasonable accommodation can recover damages such as reimbursement for lost wages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages when applicable, attorney's fees and costs associated with pursuing the claim. Moreover, injunctive relief - meaning orders forcing employers to stop discriminatory practices - may also be obtained where appropriate. It is therefore essential for those affected by discrimination related to accommodation requests in California to understand their rights and how best to protect themselves against unlawful treatment by their employer.

Understanding California's FEHA Policies On Accommodating Disabled Workers

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides a comprehensive framework for employers to meet their obligation of providing reasonable accommodations. Ultimately, understanding FEHA's interactive process for accommodation requests for disabled workers is critical for creating inclusive work environments throughout California.

Proper implementation of this law allows employers to protect themselves against litigation while giving employees the opportunity to fully participate in their jobs free from any form of exclusionary bias. With careful consideration given to each unique situation through an organized interactive process, employers and employees alike can benefit from FEHA-mandated accommodations within California’s workplace setting.

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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