Question: I have a back condition that makes it very painful to walk. My employer provides a parking lot for employees, but it tends to fill up quickly and I frequently have to park on the street and walk several blocks to work.
I asked my boss for a parking place that is closer to the workplace entrance, but she said that all she could do was put me on the waiting list for a space. She also said that she is under no obligation to create an extra parking place for me, because she already supplies all the disabled parking places required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Do I have any legal recourse here?
Answer: Probably, but we need more information. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities, and it also requires that most employers accommodate disabilities if asked.
What do all these terms mean? For a quick explanation, go to https://www.ada.gov/ada_title_I.htm But the bottom line is that if an employee meets the definition of “disabled” and requests that the employer make workplace changes in order to enable him to do his job, the employer usually must make those changes unless it creates an undue hardship. This means more than just inconvenience – it must actually cause significant difficulty or expense.
As the above link indicates, employers must also allow disabled employees to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as do other employees. You said that your employer provides parking for other employees, so she probably has an obligation to do the same for you. There are several ways she could do this, including:
- Creating an additional accessible space in the parking lot,
- Assigning a specific accessible parking space for your exclusive use,
- Allowing you to use customers’ parking spaces.
As for your employer’s claim that she is already complying with the ADA, she is confusing two different sections of that law. The ADA has several different sections or titles. One title (Title III) requires that businesses provide a certain number of accessible spaces in their parking lots. Another title (Title II) has the same requirement for government entities.
I will discuss both of those titles in my next column. But for now, suffice it to say that as an employer, she is subject both to Title III and Title I of the ADA.
For more information, see this link:
Nothing this website is intended to be legal advice.
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