ADA Frequently Asked Questions

Category: Title I: Employment
Question: #20
What is undue Hardship?
An employer never has to provide any reasonable accommodation that causes undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense. Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but also to reasonable accommodations that are unduly extensive or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.

Every request for reasonable accommodation should be evaluated separately to determine if it would impose an undue hardship, taking into account:
  • The nature and cost of the accommodation needed;
  • The overall financial resources of the business; the number of persons employed by the business; and the effect on expenses and resources of the business;
  • The impact of the accommodation on the business.

If cost is an issue, an employer should determine whether funding is available from an outside source, such as a state rehabilitation agency, to pay for all or part of the accommodation. In addition, the employer should determine whether it is eligible for certain tax credits or deductions to offset the cost of the accommodation. Also, to the extent that a portion of the cost of an accommodation causes undue hardship, the employer should ask the individual with a disability if s/he will pay the difference.

An employer cannot claim undue hardship based on employees' (or customers') fears or prejudices, or because providing a reasonable accommodation might have a negative impact on employee morale. Employers, however, may claim undue hardship where a reasonable accommodation would be unduly disruptive to other employees' ability to work.

Title I: Employment
Title II: State & Local Governments
Title III: Places of Public Accommodations
Title IV: Telecommunications
Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions

Last Updated on:
Fri Jul 7, 2017