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Failure to Accommodate

Failure to engage in the interactive process or provide a reasonable accommodation is illegal.  Employers are obligated to engage in the “interactive process” with employees to find a “reasonable accommodation” in a variety of circumstances.

Reasonable Accommodation

Disability Accommodation

Religious Accommodation

Substance Abuse Accommodation

  • Employees with substance abuse problems may have a right to a reasonable accommodation for them to participate in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program.  Labor Code §§ 1025-1028.

Lactation Accommodation

  • A lactation break is a period of time during the work day for nursing mothers to express breast milk (i.e., a break to pump).  Both state and federal laws require California employers to provide lactation breaks.  Labor Code §§ 1030-1033; 29 U.S.C. § 207(r).
  • Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who request a lactation accommodation or who attempt to express breast milk.  Labor Code §§ 1031-1033.

Illiteracy Accommodation

  • Though illiteracy is not a disability, employers with 25 or more employees must reasonably accommodate and assist an employee who reveals a problem of illiteracy and requests assistance.  Labor Code § 1041(a).  Assistance might include providing the employee with the locations of local literacy education programs or arranging for a literacy education provider to visit the workplace.  Labor Code § 1041(b).
  • If an employee needs time off from work to attend classes or seek other assistance, and that time off does not impose an undue hardship on you, strongly consider providing the employee with unpaid time off from work.