55 min ., transcript provided ). W r i t i n g

55 min ., transcript provided ). W r i t i n g

W5: Reasonable Accommodation Case Study

Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112(a), requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified persons with a disability to enable them to work. The federal government has a similar requirement under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. What is a “reasonable” accommodation? This is a determination to be made on the facts by the employer on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the decision an employer makes may be reviewed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (or an equivalent state agency) or a court if challenged by an applicant or employee.


Adele, a fully qualified specialized registered nurse, is deaf. She relies upon an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to communicate with hearing individuals in the workplace. Adele applied for a job with Marigold Mercy Receiving and Trauma Center (“MMRTC”), a large medical center that, with all its hubs and subsidiaries, grossed $1.3 billion annually. Adele received a job offer, conditioned upon a health screening and clearance by MMRTC’s occupational health department. She is in fact cleared, but she notified MMRTC that she needed an ASL interpreter as an accommodation for her hearing impairment. The annual salary, including benefits, for her position was approximately $75,000. Upon investigation, MMRTC calculated that the annual cost to MMRTC for the ASL interpreter accommodation would be $120,000; there was the need for a full-time interpreter for Adele, plus several situations where two ASL interpreters would be required. In considering Adele’s request for accommodation, the department’s hiring supervisor wrote in an email that the department’s annual HR budget allocation of $3 million could not absorb the “excessive cost of the additional personnel” of ASL qualified interpreters “for this one nurse.” MMRTC determined the additional salary and personnel would be an “undue hardship,” making the accommodation unreasonable. Therefore, MMRTC did not hire Adele. Did MMRTC violate ADA?

DISCUSS: Was MMRTC within its rights to refuse the accommodation and thus not hire Adele? In considering this case, you should review: 1) what is considered a “reasonable” accommodation under ADA; (2) sample accommodations listed by ADA (42 U.S.C. § 12111(9) (2018)) and the EEOC ( and (3) the definition and standard for “undue hardship” (42 U.S.C. § 12111(10)(a) (2018)). Please support your thoughts and conclusion with reasoned analysis.


Initial main response to Discussion Prompt

Student’s post directly responds to all the questions/points in the Discussion Prompt;
Student discusses at least two (2) concepts in the post that demonstrate student has reviewed the required readings, lesson, or other relevant research sources.


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Overview. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://

Prohibited employment policies/practices. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://

Summary of the major laws of the U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.) DOL. Retrieved from https://

Laws enforced by EEOC. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://

Workplace laws not enforced by the EEOC. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from http://

Best practices for employers and human resources/EEO professionals. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from https://

Enforcement guidance: Reasonable accommodation and undue hardship under the Americans with Disabilities act. (n.d.) EEOC. Retrieved from https://

Northwest ADA Center. (2020, April). Reasonable accommodations in the workplace. ADA National Network. Retrieved from https://adata.org/factsheet/reasonable-accommodations-workplace

Initial Post they are replying to:

Hello Class,

MMRTC was within its rights in declining to hire Adele since her request for a “reasonable accommodation” would subject the organization to strain and “undue hardship.”. Under the guidelines of the provisions made by the US’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as a general principle, MMRT is required to provide a qualified individual, Adele, with a reasonable accommodation, unless such a provision would subject MMRT to an undue hardship (EEOC, 2002). The ADA defines reasonable accommodation as any change to the work environment, reassignment of vacant positions, modification or acquisition of devices or equipment, provision of qualified interpreters and readers, and the overall or partial job restructuring which allows qualified disabled persons to conduct the job’s essential functions in such a manner that they experience equality in the employment opportunities (EEOC, 2002). However, accommodations are only regarded as “reasonable” if, in their implementation, the employer does not experience a direct threat or undue hardship and are generally plausible or feasible. The EEOC defines an undue hardship as any action which, in its enforceability, will cause significant expense or difficulty in consideration of the employer’s circumstances and resources and their ability to provide a specific accommodation (EEOC, 2002). However, undue hardships are not limited to financial difficulties. They may also involve disruptive, substantial, or unduly extensive accommodations to a degree of altering the fundamental operations or nature of the employer’s business.

In this regard, MMRT was within its right to deem Adele’s accommodation request unreasonable since its enforceability would cause significant financial expense. This decision was in regard to the budgetary allocation given to MMRT’s human resource, which could not afford to hire Adele’s ASL interpreter. Moreover, the accommodation circumstance was unreasonable in that the cost of hiring the ASL interpreter exceeded the cost of hiring the registered nurse and the ASL would only serve Adele at one particular time. This means that she would cost the organization $195,000 to perform her essential functions. These considerations justify MMRT’s actions.


EEOC. (2002, October 17). Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship under the ADA . U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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