Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112(a), requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified persons with a disability to enable them to work. The federal government has a similar requirement under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. What is a “reasonable” accommodation? This is a determination to be made on the facts by the employer on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the decision an employer makes may be reviewed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (or an equivalent state agency) or a court if challenged by an applicant or employee.
PROMPT: CASE STUDY
Adele, a fully qualified specialized registered nurse, is deaf. She relies upon an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to communicate with hearing individuals in the workplace. Adele applied for a job with Marigold Mercy Receiving and Trauma Center (“MMRTC”), a large medical center that, with all its hubs and subsidiaries, grossed $1.3 billion annually. Adele received a job offer, conditioned upon a health screening and clearance by MMRTC’s occupational health department. She is in fact cleared, but she notified MMRTC that she needed an ASL interpreter as an accommodation for her hearing impairment. The annual salary, including benefits, for her position was approximately $75,000. Upon investigation, MMRTC calculated that the annual cost to MMRTC for the ASL interpreter accommodation would be $120,000; there was the need for a full-time interpreter for Adele, plus several situations where two ASL interpreters would be required. In considering Adele’s request for accommodation, the department’s hiring supervisor wrote in an email that the department’s annual HR budget allocation of $3 million could not absorb the “excessive cost of the additional personnel” of ASL qualified interpreters “for this one nurse.” MMRTC determined the additional salary and personnel would be an “undue hardship,” making the accommodation unreasonable. Therefore, MMRTC did not hire Adele. Did MMRTC violate ADA?
DISCUSS: Was MMRTC within its rights to refuse the accommodation and thus not hire Adele? In considering this case, you should review: 1) what is considered a “reasonable” accommodation under ADA; (2) sample accommodations listed by ADA (42 U.S.C. § 12111(9) (2018)) and the EEOC (www.eeoc.gov); and (3) the definition and standard for “undue hardship” (42 U.S.C. § 12111(10)(a) (2018)). Please support your thoughts and conclusion with reasoned analysis.
Initial main response to Discussion Prompt
Students post directly responds to all the questions/points in the Discussion Prompt;
Student discusses at least two (2) concepts in the post that demonstrate student has reviewed the required readings, lesson, or other relevant research sources.
WEEK 5: THE FOLLOWING IS REQUIRED READING FOR THE COURSE. THESE MATERIALS WILL ASSIST YOUR RESEARCH FOR DISCUSSIONS, EXAMS/QUIZZES, AND PAPERS.
Bucaro, F. (2017, April 6). What would you do? Corporate Compliance Insights. https://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/what-would-you-do/
Read the following 3 blogs of David Gebler together, each 1 page. They are listed here in sequence]:
- Gebler, D. (2010, April 14). Banana logic. [Blog] Business Ethics, Culture and Performance. Retrieved from https://managementhelp.org/blogs/business-ethics/2010/04/14/banana-logic/
- Gebler, D. (2010, April 19). Toyota ethics: Questions to get answers. [Blog] Business Ethics, Culture and Performance. Retrieved from https://managementhelp.org/blogs/business-ethics/2010/04/19/toyota-ethics-questions-to-get-to-answers/
- Gebler, D. (2010, April 28). Goldman Sachs – Trust, corporate culture and societal expectations. [Blog] Business Ethics, Culture and Performance. Retrieved from https://managementhelp.org/blogs/business-ethics/2010/04/28/goldman-sachs-trust-corporate-culture-and-societal-expectations/
Sandel, M. (2017). Putting a price tag on life. (Harvard Lecture). [Video File]. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD_zU-BHaOc (23:55 min., transcript provided).
Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://umich.edu/~thecore/doc/Friedman.pdf
Barlas, R. (2016). Friedman’s theory of social responsibility for business in the 21st century. J. of Integrated Stud., 8(1), n.p. Available at: http://jis.athabascau.ca/index.php/jis/article/view/166/338
Overview. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://www1.eeoc.gov/eeoc/index.cfm
Prohibited employment policies/practices. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/index.cfm
Summary of the major laws of the U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.) DOL. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/general/aboutdol/majorlaws
Laws enforced by EEOC. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/index.cfm
Workplace laws not enforced by the EEOC. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://www1.eeoc.gov/laws/other.cfm
Best practices for employers and human resources/EEO professionals. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/initiatives/e-race/bestpractices-employers.cfm
Enforcement guidance: Reasonable accommodation and undue hardship under the Americans with Disabilities act. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html
Northwest ADA Center. (2020, April). Reasonable accommodations in the workplace. ADA National Network. Retrieved from https://adata.org/factsheet/reasonable-accommodations-workplace
Initial Post they are replying to:
MMRTC was within its rights in declining to hire Adele since her request for a “reasonable accommodation” would subject the organization to strain and undue hardship.. Under the guidelines of the provisions made by the USs Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as a general principle, MMRT is required to provide a qualified individual, Adele, with a reasonable accommodation, unless such a provision would subject MMRT to an undue hardship (EEOC, 2002). The ADA defines reasonable accommodation as any change to the work environment, reassignment of vacant positions, modification or acquisition of devices or equipment, provision of qualified interpreters and readers, and the overall or partial job restructuring which allows qualified disabled persons to conduct the jobs essential functions in such a manner that they experience equality in the employment opportunities (EEOC, 2002). However, accommodations are only regarded as “reasonable” if, in their implementation, the employer does not experience a direct threat or undue hardship and are generally plausible or feasible. The EEOC defines an undue hardship as any action which, in its enforceability, will cause significant expense or difficulty in consideration of the employer’s circumstances and resources and their ability to provide a specific accommodation (EEOC, 2002). However, undue hardships are not limited to financial difficulties. They may also involve disruptive, substantial, or unduly extensive accommodations to a degree of altering the fundamental operations or nature of the employers business.
In this regard, MMRT was within its right to deem Adele’s accommodation request unreasonable since its enforceability would cause significant financial expense. This decision was in regard to the budgetary allocation given to MMRT’s human resource, which could not afford to hire Adele’s ASL interpreter. Moreover, the accommodation circumstance was unreasonable in that the cost of hiring the ASL interpreter exceeded the cost of hiring the registered nurse and the ASL would only serve Adele at one particular time. This means that she would cost the organization $195,000 to perform her essential functions. These considerations justify MMRT’s actions.
EEOC. (2002, October 17). Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship under the ADA . U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/enforcement-guidance-reasonable-accommodation-and-undue-hardship-under-ada
Reply 1 From Classmate,
I do agree with you; however, I do believe the company could research and identify ways to redirect funds for accommodations when needed. I guess I say that because I have been on Adele’s side of this argument. This is good because it shows the ADA not only protects those who are disabled, but also businesses from being bullied by those disabled. So I can understand your point of view, but how does it look when the individual perceives that a company will not hire her because they do not have the resources available to employ her?
Reply 2 From Professor,
Thanks so much for your efforts in this discussion, you have done some excellent work. The term reasonable accommodation is not specifically defined because what is reasonable in one situation would be completely unreasonable in another situation. Obviously if this is not a large company they could afford to pay one person twice as much as the going rate simply because they needed an interpreter.
But if it is a huge company maybe we can argue that they should have to pay that this is a reasonable accommodation. But we can also look into other factors such as safety. If this nurse was in another room she may not hear someone scream or yell out in pain or hear a heart monitor that is trying to signal an emergency. Also what if there’s an issue where the interpreter miscommunicated something because the interpreter does not have a medical background that could literally cause the patient to die.
I am all for providing people with disabilities the access to jobs and everything that life has to offer. But we do have to balance that with safety and reasonableness. I think the safety issue we can all agree upon, but is the salary reasonable? No matter how big the company is can any company justify paying the salary of an employee and then paying more than that salary to interpreters just to have one person working?
Is it unreasonable to ask them to pay more than they would pay two people just to have one person on staff no matter how much the company makes or profits?
Reply 3 From Classmate,
When we get into the gray areas like what is your definition versus my definition of reasonable accommodation it is good to have something in writing that clearly outlines what they are. Taking on one employee plus the burden to higher a full time interpreter possible two would be unreasonable when they can higher any other qualified candidate that applied and only pay the salary they would make. They are looking to pay her 75k. They stated that one interpreter would cost 120k and possibly needing two that is well over 195k and would not make sense for a company to take the financial burden. If there were funds to be allocated and they were not spending they way they should each year then it could be a way to utilize those funds, but if not then it makes no sense to put the entire hospital at risk by doing so.
"Place your order now for a similar assignment and have exceptional work written by our team of experts, guaranteeing you A results."