Icons of different disabilities on a light blue background

In a recent survey of number of attorneys in the Greater Grand Rapids area found that most attorneys do not have a very good understanding or awareness of Disability Law, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008).  The filtering question was: What are the four reasons that “reasonable accommodations” requests can be denied?

Answers are:

  1. The person requesting the “reasonable accommodation” is not disabled under the definitions of the Act and the medical condition(s) does not interfere with Life’s major functions.  
  2. The request causes an “undue burden”.  The Courts have interpreted this to include cost as a factor, (although there are very, very few cases where this had been a successful at trial).  The Courts have also ruled that a request that causes so much of or such an administrative burden, it would be impossible to grant such accommodations.
  3. The request for “reasonable accommodation causes peril, danger against the public or person or makes a direct threat.  This danger must be factual, immediate, and not a perceived notion by another person.
  4. The request does not undermine the credentials of the institution or require modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the institution which is being asked to provide the accommodation.  As, an example, an institution of higher learning such as college just cannot just provide a preferred grade just because a disabled person demands it.  There is no guarantee of outcome.

More and more the courts are looking at “being regarded as” with greater scrutiny on whether to provide “reasonable accommodations” or not to provide accommodations.

When building a case and formulating arguments with the above in mind will greatly improve the chances of a desired finding or favorable judgement.

Curt Haney BA, Veteran Apprentice

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