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What does it cost a company to settle a typically ADA lawsuit? What is the typical cost of accomodating for an ADA complaint?

Chicago, IL |

I am encouraging accomodation rather waiting for a lawsuit. Some numbers would make this a stronger case.

Attorney Answers 3


There is no way to estimate the typical value of a settlement or the costs of an accommodation. It depends on a number of factors--size of the employer, salary of the employee, type of disability, type of accommodation necessary, strength of the case, etc. I suggest you meet with an experienced employment lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. Most of us will provide a free consultation.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. You should be aware that no attorney-client relationship is established through this answer and none will be established without a personal consultation and the signing of an engagement agreement.

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I agree with Mr. Friedman. There is no way of knowing, based on the facts you provided, what an ADA suit would normally settle for. Specifically, settlements are most often kept confidential so the calculation would be based on the factors Mr. Friedman identified. Aside from that, each case is unique. There are general figures for what it may cost an employer to defend a case (the out of pocket costs and attorneys fees they will spend), but that does not generally impact settlement figures.

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I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

I generally agree with attorneys Friedman and Weinman with respect to settlement. There are dozens of factors that can influence the amount of a settlement, the most important being the facts of the case.

However, there is an excellent source for learning the typical cost of providing reasonable accommodations. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN): is the best source for free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations. JAN offers one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation. JAN provides help over the phone and on-line and has its web site has great information on many disabilities, including mental health disabilities, and suggested reasonable accommodations. JAN is a service of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy.

JAN has been compiling data on reasonable accommodation since 2004 and provides frequent reports on the cost and effectiveness of accommodations in its publication _Workplace accommodations: Low cost, high impact._ Here is an excerpt from JAN's 2013 update that addresses the typical cost of reasonable accommodation:

"The JAN study has been on-going since 2004. JAN, in partnership with the University of Iowa's Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center (LHPDC), interviewed 1,182 employers between January 2004 and December 2006. In addition, JAN, in partnership with the West Virginia University School of Social Work (formerly School of Applied Social Sciences), interviewed 807 employers between June 28, 2008, and July 31, 2013. Employers in the JAN study represented a range of industry sectors and sizes and contacted JAN for information about workplace accommodations, the ADA, or both. Approximately eight weeks after their initial contact, the employers were asked a series of questions about the situation they discussed with JAN and the quality of the services JAN provided."

"Of the employers who gave cost information related to accommodations they had provided, 355 out of 610 (58%) said the accommodations needed by employees cost absolutely nothing. Another 222 (36%) experienced a one-time cost. Only 24 (4%) said the accommodation resulted in an ongoing, annual cost to the company and 9 (1%) said the accommodation required a combination of one-time and annual costs; however, too few of these employers provided cost data to report with accuracy. Of those accommodations that did have a cost, the typical one-time expenditure by employers was $500. When asked how much they paid for an accommodation beyond what they would have paid for an employee without a disability who was in the same position, employers typically answered around $500."

(continued in Comment below)

@MikaSpencer * * * * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis.

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Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer


(continued from Answer above) For the settlement discussion, I urge you to consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation. You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing. I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

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