Is There a Price Limit To Reasonable Accommodation For Disabilities?

Employees with disabilities are afforded a number of rights and protections thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other legislation at the federal and state levels. Among the most important protections these employees have is the right to request reasonable accommodation when they require assistance to fulfill essential functions in their roles at work.

Conditions where disability accommodation may be required include: (1) a physical or mental disability; (2) medical condition, or (3) pregnancy.

Reasonable accommodation can include the following and more:

  • Reserving a parking spot near the worksite entrance (if handicapped parking is full or unavailable)
  • Adjusting how an office space is laid out to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids
  • Special software that compensates for blindness, deafness, or other sensory disabilities
  • Special furniture intended to accommodate a disability
  • Swapping non-essential duties with a coworker if they are too burdensome for the disabled employee to perform
  • Increasing the frequency or duration of a disabled employee’s breaks
  • Establishing an alternative work schedule to accommodate matters related to the employee’s disability

The circumstances under which an employer can successfully deny a reasonable accommodation request are typically very limited. Employees, however, must make their employers aware of their disability and need for reasonable accommodation in order to request it. In most cases, employers are typically obligated to comply or work with an employee to establish mutually aggregable arrangements.

What Does Reasonable Accommodation Typically Cost?

Many types of reasonable accommodation cost employers nothing to implement, while others can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Despite this wide discrepancy, or perhaps because of it, there is no established limit to what reasonable accommodation can cost.

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), however, cites that nearly 56 percent of employers reported that reasonable accommodation was implemented without cost. Around 39 percent of employers said accommodation was a one-time cost, the median of which was about $500. Interestingly, these same employers indicated that the cost of accommodation for an employee exceeded the typical expenditures for an employee without a disability by a nearly negligible amount (about $20 more).

Because most accommodation can be implemented at either no cost or for reasonably low costs, employers who attempt to deny reasonable accommodation must have a strong argument for doing so. Ultimately, this means they must prove that accommodating an employee’s disability presents undue hardship on the whole company – and it can be very difficult to do so.

Employees with disabilities should feel empowered to make their needs known to their employers, which are typically obligated to comply with nearly any reasonable accommodation request. Those employers that fail to do so – and especially without proving substantial hardship – may be named in a disability discrimination lawsuit and liable for damages.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

If your request for reasonable accommodation was denied by your employer, reach out to Haeggquist & Eck, LLP for help. Our attorneys represent employee clients in a wide range of employment law disputes, including those involving disability discrimination. We can provide the legal representation you need to achieve the best possible outcome by confronting your employer with legal action.

Learn more about what Haeggquist & Eck, LLP can do for you by scheduling a free initial consultation with our attorneys. Get in touch with us online or by calling (619) 342-8000 today!

How Women in Tech Can Fight Against Harassment From Bosses & Investors

For decades, the tech industry has been a male-dominated arena with systematic sexism that has been allowed to persist relatively unchecked. Some strides toward equal treatment for all employees in this field have been made in recent years, but a recent survey from the nonprofit organization Women Who Tech demonstrates there’s much more to be done.

In a survey of more than 1,000 tech industry employees, founders and investors, Women Who Tech found that 70% of women in the tech industry stated they were treated differently than men at work.

Here are some key insights about Harassment of Female Tech Employees uncovered by Women Who Tech’s recent survey:

  • 48 percent of women employees experienced harassment, compared to 11 percent of men
  • 43 percent of employees who said they were harassed were sexually harassed – 18 percent of these respondents said they were offered a promotion in exchange for sex
  • 45 percent of women employees reported harassment; as many as 67 percent said they didn’t trust how their company would handle allegations of harassment
  • 44 percent of women founders said they have experienced harassment
  • 41 percent of women founders who were harassed said they experienced sexual harassment
  • 40 percent of women founders said they were harassed by an investor, 59 percent of this amount reported quid pro quo sexual harassment

What Can Women in Tech Do if they Experience Discrimination or Harassment?

As employment law attorneys, perhaps one of the most troubling statistics for us is that 67 percent of women in the 2020 survey said they didn’t trust how their company would handle harassment allegations if they came forward.

We understand that someone’s willingness to report harassment and unfair treatment often depends on what they expect to come of it.

By engaging with an employment law attorney, you can have a legal advocate at your side to walk you through the reporting process. Your company is required to address your allegations promptly and take action if there is sufficient evidence that mistreatment is taking place

If you have been discriminated against, treated unfairly, harassed or sexually harassed by your employer or an investor, we encourage you to reach out to Haeggquist & Eck, LLP to schedule a free initial consultation.

Get in touch with us today by reaching out online or by calling (619) 342-8000 to reach someone at our office who can help.

New California Law Requires More Diversity on Corporate Boards of Directors

Starting next year, all public companies headquartered in California will be legally required to diversify their boards of directors. This includes diversifying by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The move comes after years of criticism that corporate boards throughout the United States remained homogenized. Below, we cover the specifics of California’s new law and how it can impact corporations headquartered in the state.

What Does Assembly Bill (AB) 979 Require?

Assembly Bill (AB) 979, which was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2020, requires companies to have at least one board member from an “underrepresented community” by the end of 2021. It requires at least two or three — depending on the board’s size — by the end of 2022.

Who Is Considered a “Director from an Underrepresented Community?”

People from underrepresented communities are defined in the bill as anyone who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or an Alaska Native. The definition also encompasses anyone who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Of the 279 top executives at the nation’s 50 largest companies, only 5, or 1.8%, were Black, including two who recently retired, according to an analysis by USA Today. Many of these corporations are still led by all-white executives in the top 5 slots, which include the, CEO, CFO, and 3 other top-paid positions.

“This new law represents a big step forward for racial equity… This is a win-win as ethnically diverse boards have shown to outperform those that lack diversity,” one of the bill’s authors, Assemblyman Chris Holden, said in a statement. “While some corporations were already leading the way to combat implicit bias, now, all of California’s corporate boards will better reflect the diversity of our state.”

The new law is likely to establish a new minimum threshold for corporate diversity across the country, much like California’s 2018 law requiring a minimum number of women directors. Haeggqist & Eck, LLP has previously written about this law.

Are There Reporting Obligations?

The California Secretary of State may adopt implementing regulations, but it is expected that corporations will be required to report on their compliance with this new law. Compliance information is likely to be made public. Currently, the California Secretary of State is required to publish an annual report on March 1 of each year providing certain information on the board gender diversity law.

What if a Corporation Does Not Comply with AB 979?

Corporations that do not comply with the requirements of AB 979 are subject to fines, ranging from $100,000 for a first violation or a failure to timely file the required information with the Secretary of State to $300,000 for second or subsequent violations. A “violation” occurs when a director seat required to be held by a director from an underrepresented community is not held by such a director for at least part of the calendar year.

In addition to the punitive fines, corporations may face public criticism as a result of their failure to comply. Given that AB 979 only requires a single seat to be given to a member of an unrepresented community in 2021, companies who fail or refuse to observe the regulations could face significant backlash that has the potential to damage the corporation’s reputation and trigger a public relations crisis.

What Can You Do?

If you have questions or concerns about AB 979, especially if a company you have invested on does not plan to comply, you should take immediate action. We encourage you to contact attorney Amber Eck at (619) 342-8000 or reach out by email at ambehttps://haelaw.com/contact-us/re@haelaw.com.

To schedule your free initial consultation, contact us online or call (619) 342-8000 today!

State Employees Affected By Wildfires May Qualify For Paid Administrative Leave

Some California State employees may qualify for administrative time off due to wildfires due to an emergency order enacted by Governor Gavin Newson.

The Sacramento Bee reported on Aug. 21 that certain California State workers affected by wildfires may be eligible to take as many as five days of paid leave initially, while a maximum of 30 days of extended paid leave can be granted with prior approval of their respective departments.

These permissions align with the State’s regulations for administrative time off during a state of emergency, which are – in part – as follows:

  • Employees may be granted a paid leave of absence of up to five days by their appointing power when the employee works or resides in a county where a state of emergency has been proclaimed by the Governor and the appointing power determines that at least one of the following conditions exist:
    • The employee’s normal place of business is closed temporarily, during the employee’s normal work shift, due to the effects of the emergency.
    • The emergency effectively precludes the employee’s ability to find reasonable routes of transportation from the employee’s normal residence to the work place.
    • The emergency presents an immediate and grave peril to the employee’s own safety, that of an employee’s immediate family member, or the employee’s principal residence.
    • The employee is actively involved in a formal, organized effort to protect the health and safety of the general public; such as, the employee is a member of the auxiliary fire or police department or the employee is asked by local authorities to assist with sandbagging efforts.
    • The employee needs to take time off to apply for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because the employee is unable to apply for assistance before or after the employee’s normal work shift.

For the full version of the state’s policy on administrative paid leave during a state of emergency, please read more here.

Do You Need To Fight For Your Leave?

Although some of the largest wildfires currently burning in California are far from containment, wildfire season in the state is usually expected to last through the fall. That means there is a risk that State employees may need to use their emergency administrative leave at a future time.

If you need to take legal action to protect your right to take leave during this time, consider reaching out to Haeggquist & Eck, LLP for legal assistance. We are a firm of employment rights attorneys who are on the side of workers who need to hold their employers accountable.

Should you need to seek fair and just compensation for leave you should have been afforded by your State employer during this time, please reach out to us to schedule a free initial consultation. During this meeting, we can learn more about your concerns and offers options for how you can proceed with taking legal action.

Learn more and schedule your free initial consultation by calling Haeggquist & Eck, LLP at (619) 342-8000 or by filling out our online contact form.

I Have Business Interruption Insurance. Can I Recoup My Businesses’ Financial Losses as a Result of COVID-19?

Everyone who has ever opened up their own business knows that you can’t run a business without taking risks. To eliminate or mitigate this risk, however, business owners purchase insurance. One type of insurance a business may, and should, purchase is “Business Interruption Insurance” – which replaces lost income and extra expenses when business operations are involuntarily suspended, interrupted, curtailed, or when access to the premises is prohibited because of direct physical loss or damage to the property, or by a civil authority order that restricts or prohibits access to the property. This coverage is standard in most all-risk commercial property insurance policies.

Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is representing businesses who have purchased business interruption insurance as part of their commercial property and have had their claim for losses denied. ABC News recently spoke to our firm and our client about these claims. You can view the news clip and article here.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, business owners who have been paying premiums for this coverage let out a big sigh of relief, reasonably believing their business losses would be covered. The insurance companies, however, have categorically denied their claims, typically with no good faith investigation into their claims. As such, businesses are now filing suit, asking courts to require insurance companies to abide by the language of the policies and provide coverage to their policyholders.

As months pass without any financial help from insurance companies, businesses struggle to stay afloat. Marc Bennett of Pappy’s Barber Shop here in San Diego has had to dip into his savings account to keep his business alive. Although Marc’s business is slowly getting back on track, he knows he is in for a tough battle, as evidenced by many of his fellow barbers permanently closing their doors.


Hundreds of business interruption cases have already been filed in the United States and abroad. Because of the common issues of fact and law in these claims, and substantially similar policy language, many of these cases have been brought as class actions.

Additionally, bipartisan groups in Washington D.C. and several states have introduced legislation requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for losses related to COVID-19 for policyholders who purchased business interruption coverage.

Businesses are taking action to get the coverage they paid for. In New York, Times Square went completely dark on May 26th to draw attention to the plight of businesses across the country who are being denied this important coverage – coverage for which they have paid premiums for years.


If you have a commercial property insurance policy, you may have business interruption insurance. You may have a claim for coverage even if you have a “virus exclusion” in your policy, or your insurer cites other reasons for denying coverage.


Let us help you receive the coverage you paid for. If you would like to receive a free, no-obligation evaluation of your rights to seek insurance coverage for your business’ losses, please contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP at (619) 342-8000, or contact us online.

Unsolicited Email Protection

Unsolicited Email

Roughly 40 percent of all e-mail traffic in the United States is comprised of unsolicited commercial e-mail advertisements (“Spam”). The increase of Spam is a continued annoyance and Spam filters have not proven to be effective.  Accordingly, the California Legislature has declared that it is necessary that Spam is prohibited and that commercial advertising e-mails be regulated.

Unsolicited Commercial Email Advertisements Prohibited

California has made it unlawful for any person or company to send unsolicited commercial email advertisements.

The Power To Fight Back

In addition to any other available remedies, you may be entitled to bring an action against any entity that sends an unsolicited commercial email advertisement to recover either or both of actual damages and/or liquidated damages of $1,000 for each unsolicited email (up to $1 million per incident).

To schedule your free initial consultation, contact us online or call (619) 342-8000 today!

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