CACI 2542 Disability Discrimination—Reasonable Accommodation Explained

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

2542 Disability Discrimination—“Reasonable Accommodation” Explained

A reasonable accommodation is a reasonable change to the workplace that [choose one or more of the following]

[gives a qualified applicant with a disability an equal opportunity in the job application process;]

[allows an employee with a disability to perform the essential duties of the job;] [or]

[allows an employee with a disability to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment that are available to employees without disabilities.]

Reasonable accommodations may include the following:

a.Making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by employees with disabilities;

b.Changing job responsibilities or work schedules;

c.Reassigning the employee to a vacant position;

d.Modifying or providing equipment or devices;

e.Modifying tests or training materials;

f.Providing qualified interpreters or readers; or

g.Providing other similar accommodations for an individual with a disability.

If more than one accommodation is reasonable, an employer makes a reasonable accommodation if it selects one of those accommodations in good faith.

Directions for Use

Give this instruction to explain “reasonable accommodation” as used in CACI No. 2541, Disability Discrimination—Reasonable Accommodation—Essential Factual Elements. For discussion regarding the burden of proof on reasonable accommodation, see the Directions for Use to CACI No. 2541.

Sources and Authority

Employer Obligation to Make Reasonable Accommodation. Government Code section 12940(m).

“Reasonable Accommodation” Defined. Government Code section 12926(p).

“Reasonable Accommodation” Defined. Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11068(a).

“Substantial” Limitation Not Required. Government Code section 12926.1(c).

“[T]he duty of an employer to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability is broader under the FEHA than under the ADA.” (Bagatti v. Department of Rehabilitation (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 344, 362 [118 Cal.Rptr.2d 443].)

“[A]n employer who knows of the disability of an employee has an affirmative duty to make known to the employee other suitable job opportunities with the employer and to determine whether the employee is interested in, and qualified for, those positions, if the employer can do so without undue hardship or if the employer offers similar assistance or benefit to other disabled or nondisabled employees or has a policy of offering such assistance or benefit to any other employees.” (Prilliman v. United Air Lines, Inc. (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 935, 950–951 [62 Cal.Rptr.2d 142].)

“The question now arises whether it is the employees’ burden to prove that a reasonable accommodation could have been made, i.e., that they were qualified for a position in light of the potential accommodation, or the employers’ burden to prove that no reasonable accommodation was available, i.e., that the employees were not qualified for any position because no reasonable accommodation was available. [¶¶] Applying Green’s burden of proof analysis to section 12940(m), we conclude that the burden of proving ability to perform the essential functions of a job with accommodation should be placed on the plaintiff under this statute as well.” (Nadaf-Rahrov v. The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 952, 977–978 [83 Cal.Rptr.3d 190], internal citations omitted.)

“Under the FEHA … an employer is relieved of the duty to reassign a disabled employee whose limitations cannot be reasonably accommodated in his or her current job only if reassignment would impose an ‘undue hardship’ on its operations or if there is no vacant position for which the employee is qualified.” (Spitzer v. Good Guys, Inc. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1376, 1389 [96 Cal.Rptr.2d 236].)

Secondary Sources

Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 7-A, Title VII And The California Fair Employment And Housing Act, ¶ 7:213 (The Rutter Group)
Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 9-C, California Fair Employment And Housing Act (FEHA), ¶¶ 9:2091, 9:2093–9:2095, 9:2197, 9:2252, 9:2265, 9:2366 (The Rutter Group)
1 Wrongful Employment Termination Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) Discrimination Claims, § 2.79
2 Wilcox, California Employment Law, Ch. 41, Substantive Requirements Under Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, § 41.51[3][a], [b] (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 115, Civil Rights: Employment Discrimination, § 115.35 (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Employment Litigation § 2:50 (Thomson Reuters)