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Shift Change

Do employers have to consider modifying an employee’s shift as a reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship? Yes, but sometimes a shift is classified as a schedule modification and sometimes it’s classified as a reassignment. For example, an employer has nurses working on three different shifts and there are a certain number of nurses on each shift. If a nurse who was hired to work the night shift requests to be moved to the day shift as an accommodation, that is a request for reassignment and the nurse must wait until there is a vacant position on the day shift. Contrast that with an employer who has one accountant working in a manufacturing plant that is operational 24 hours a day. The accountant asks to change his shift from the day shift to the evening shift because of his disability. In this situation, the request is to modify a schedule. It’s not a reassignment because there aren’t other employees in the same job working other shifts.