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HR Q&A: How do I determine whether a requested accommodation would be an undue hardship?

The basic definition of an undue hardship is an action that creates a significant difficulty or expense. There are no hard and fast rules governing what significant means, but the bar is intentionally set high in order to encourage employers to help those with disabilities fully engage in the workforce.

The factors below are important to consider when making your determination:
• The nature and net cost of the accommodation, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits and deductions, as well as outside funding;
• The overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the accommodation, the number of individuals employed at the facility, and the effect of the accommodation on expenses and resources;
• The overall financial resources of the covered entity, the overall size of the business of the covered entity with respect to the number of its employees, and the number, type, and location of its facilities;
• The type of operation or operations of the covered entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce, and the geographic separateness and administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the covered entity; and
• The impact of the accommodation upon the operation of the facility, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and the impact on the facility’s ability to conduct business.

Answer from Kyle, PHR:

Kyle is a professional author, editor, and researcher specializing in workplace culture, retention strategies, and employee engagement. He has previously worked with book publishers, educational institutions, magazines, news and opinion websites, nationally-known business leaders, and non-profit organizations. He has a BA in English, an MA in philosophy, and a PHR certification.

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