Advice and Resolution Corner - What is "Undue Hardship"?

Document created by 1050210 on Oct 30, 2014
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Published Date: 03/03/2014


Reneé Watkins

By Reneé Watkins




What is “undue hardship” when considering a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?




In situations where there are two effective accommodations, the ADA allows the employer to choose the accommodation that is less expensive or easier for the employer to implement so long as the selected accommodation provides meaningful employment opportunity. However, express choice of the applicant or employee should be given primary consideration by the employer.


Accommodation is not required under the ADA if it would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business. This means a significant difficulty or expense. Under the ADA, the determination of whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship is a balancing approach that is done on a case-by-case basis. The ADA provides that certain factors be considered in making such a balancing decision:


  • the nature and cost of the accommodation;
  • the size, type and financial resources of the specific facility where the accommodation would be made;
  • the size, type and financial resources of the covered employer; and
  • the covered employer’s type of operation, including the composition, structure and functions of its workforce and the geographic separateness and administrative or fiscal relationship between the specific facility and the covered employer.


If you have questions about ADA, please contact a member of CAI's Advice & Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

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