Who has the burden of proof in an ADA reasonable accommodation case? The employee, to prove a lack of an accommodation, or the employer, to prove the unavailability of an accommodation?
Notifying an employer of a need for an accommodation triggers a duty to engage in an “interactive process” through which the employer and employee can come to understand the employee’s abilities and limitations, the employer’s needs for various positions, and a possible middle ground for accommodating the employee.
The ADA does not require an employer to offer a disabled employee the most reasonable accommodation, or the employee’s preferred accommodation. Instead, it only requires the employer to offer a reasonable accommodation, one which enables the employee to perform all of the essential functions of the job. Yet, if an employer does not know that an employee needs, or wants, an accommodation, how can an employer know that it is supposed to offer anything.
This post originally appeared on the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, and was written by Jon Hyman, Partner, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis. Jon can be reached at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via telephone at 216-831-0042, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.