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What If There Is No Accommodation Possible?

It’s not considered illegal discrimination to make employment-related decisions based on a disability that, even after making reasonable accommodations:

  • Renders the disabled person unable to perform the primary / essential functions of the job
  • Creates a substantial, imminent danger to self or others by performing the job

For example:

  • An ambulance driver experiences an epileptic seizure that disqualifies him from holding a driver’s license.
  • Following a car accident, a cardiac surgeon becomes quadriplegic and cannot walk or operate surgical tools.
  • A radiology technician loses his hearing to a degree that he can no longer recognize important safety signals or alarms from his instruments or warnings from other radiology staff members.

Employers must allow the employee to submit the results of an independent medical opinion and consider that opinion in any action taken.

The final decision regarding the employee’s status with the company should be consistent with your company’s written policies and procedures.

It is NOT acceptable to take employment-related action because a disability:

  • Has the possibility of harming self or others in the future
  • Will cause an employer’s insurance cause to go up

Terminating or transferring an employee for these reasons IS illegal discrimination. Paying increased insurance costs is a reasonable accommodation, and the danger posed by an employee’s disability must be imminent and substantial, not hypothetical, to be legal grounds for employment-related action.