Specific provisions for the state of Minnesota.
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for job applicants or qualified employees with disabilities, unless a bona fide occupational qualification exists or the employer can show that such accommodations would impose undue hardship on the employer’s business. Effective July 1, 2021, to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations, employers must initiate an informal, interactive process with employees or applicants in need of an accommodation. The process should identify the limitations resulting from the disability and any potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations.
Reasonable accommodations can include making facilities usable by people with disabilities, restructuring jobs or work schedules, reassigning to vacant positions, obtaining and modifying special equipment, and providing interpreters, readers, and aides on a periodic basis. Undue hardship is determined based on factors such as employers’ overall workforce and budget size; number and type of facilities; type of operations; workforce composition and structure; the nature, cost, and funding of needed accommodations; and employers’ documented good faith efforts to explore less restrictive or less expensive alternatives.
Employers aren’t required to pay for applicants’ accommodations that can be obtained elsewhere free of charge. If a particular accommodation would result in undue hardship, however, employers still have to provide any alternative accommodation that is available and wouldn’t create undue hardship.
[Note: The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that the fair employment practices law doesn’t require an employer to engage in an interactive process with an employee or applicant to determine whether they can be reasonably accommodated. McBee v. Team Indus., Inc., 925 N.W.2d 222, 229 (Minn. 2019). Effective July 1, 2021, 2021 Minn. Laws 11 (HF 63) amended the law to require employers to engage in an interactive process.]
Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers, including state and local governments, with 15 or more employees, are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities. Title I protects qualified individuals with disabilities in several areas, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation and job training. It is also unlawful to retaliate against someone for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability, or for filing an ADA discrimination charge. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) shares enforcement authority for Title I of the ADA with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has primary responsibility for enforcing the employment provisions of the law. (Note: Federal employees and job applicants are covered by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 instead of the ADA.