We frequently post about employer obligations to accommodate disabled employees. Generally, accommodation is required unless an employer can show that the requested accommodation imposes an undue hardship. Not surprisingly, litigation often focuses on whether a particular accommodation imposes an undue hardship, an analysis that considers the nature and cost of the accommodation, the financial resources of the employer, the number of employees and effect on expenses and resources of the employer, and the type of operation involved (among other facts and circumstances).
Recently, the EEOC announced a settlement with an Atlanta employer who was alleged to have refused to provide an employee with a mat to stand on to accommodate the employee’s scoliosis. The employer was also alleged to have fired the employee when she complained that she was being subject to discrimination. The EEOC’s news release does not include information about the employer’s explanation for why it terminated the employee, or whether the employer argued that providing a rubber mat created an undue hardship. However, it is unlikely an employer could establish that providing a rubber mat entailed significant difficulty or expense.