I recently became handicapped in Los Angeles. Does my boss legally have to build an elevator for me to be able to get into the building?

I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. What steps your company has to take to accommodate you depend on the company and several factors related to the company.

The first thing to know is that under both federal and state law, companies are not allowed to discriminate against you because of your disability. Disability discrimination means treating an employee in a negative way in any aspect of employment because of his or her disability. This could mean in hiring or firing, pay, benefits, promotions or demotions, or job assignments. In addition, harassment in the workplace because of a disability is also illegal.

The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees or job applicants with a disability. A reasonable accommodation means any change in the job description or employment conditions to help a person with a disability. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include asking an employer to make some small modifications in the job duties to assist an employee who is hard of hearing, or purchasing a special desk for someone with a disability. However, if the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the employer, the employer does not have to provide the accommodation. Undue hardships are considered too expensive or difficult to the employer.

In your case, asking your employer to remodel the building to include an elevator would probably not be considered a reasonable accommodation that the employer would have to provide. However, if you have a job that you could do from home, or if the employer could easily transfer you to another location without the elevator issue, the employer may be legally required to do that.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in your employment situation, you should speak with an employment law attorney. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles employment law attorney at 310-385-0567. I will provide you with a free consultation on your situation.