What is Undue Hardship?

Undue hardship is a term used in the legal community that can refer to different things. It essentially means that someone has a difficulty that will keep them from doing a specific thing. Employers often need to understand this term and how it applies to the Americans with Disabilities Act. If caught violating this act and making life hard for one or more workers with disabilities, they can face some steep fines from the government. The term can also turn up in court cases involving child custody and in other cases too.

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Child Support

Child support orders are official orders from the court that require one parent to pay for the support of a child. When a couple divorces or separates, the judge will name one the custodial parent. This is the parent who has primary custody of the parent. The other is the noncustodial parent who will send money to the custodial parent every month. Judges can base the support order on how much the noncustodial parent makes and how often he or she sees the child. If that parent loses his or her job and files a hardship claim, the court can reduce the size of the order.

Reasonable Accommodations

Employers today must make reasonable accommodations for their employees, especially those with disabilities. This means that the employer cannot demand that someone in a wheelchair hold a position that requires standing. It also limits what duties an employer can assign to an employee and prohibits the employer from changing the worker’s status or reducing his or her hours because of a disability. The term does allow employers to find new workers to perform those duties and/or to change the duties that an individual must do on the job as long as it is reasonable to expect that person to handle those duties.

Hiring Process and More

Undue hardship applies during the hiring process and when an individual becomes an employee. This means that a hiring manager cannot turn down an applicant because he or she has disabilities or because the manager thinks that the individual cannot handle the duties of the job. It also applies to the working conditions that an employee has, including the structure of the job and any changes made to the building. Employers may need to bring in new equipment or make changes to existing equipment to accommodate the new worker.

Paying for Accommodations

According to the ADA National Network, employers and employees must work together in hardship situations. It uses the example of a hardship accommodation that would cause financial hardship to the employer. In that case, the employer can ask that the employee pay a portion of the total cost of the change. If an employee needs a new bathroom installed with handicap access, the employer can request that the employee pay the difference between what a standard bathroom renovation would cost and what the accessible bathroom costs.

Many people have issues raising the money that they need to pay for simple things, which can cause financial hardship. In child support cases, a hardship can prevent one parent from paying the total amount that the court orders per month. Lawyers often use the term undue hardship to explain the issues that employees face at work due to their disabilities.