Overview: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer's business.
An employer's duty to make reasonable accommodations extends to all employment decisions, and it applies to job applicants and full- and part-time employees. Examples of accommodations include:
There are times where an employer may be excused from making a reasonable accommodation. However, each accommodation request is fact-specific and the reasonableness of an accommodation should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Employers should opt to work something out when an employee requests an accommodation due to a disability. An employer that meets with an employee and discusses accommodation possibilities (a.k.a. the interactive process) will be in a much better position if they are sued for failure to accommodate.
Trends: The EEOC has entered into multi-million dollar settlements with employers that inflexibly and universally apply a leave limit policy (such as no-fault attendance policies) without looking at the reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA.
An employer that has a leave policy that calls for the automatic termination of employees who exhaust a specified period of available time off, are looking for trouble from the EEOC. The EEOC expects to issue revised guidance on the topic of reasonable accommodations and leaves of absence under the ADA soon.
The federal courts have been reviewing whether an employer must, as a reasonable accommodation, pass over a more qualified individual, and assign an employee with a disability to a vacant job position (so long as the employee with a disability meets the minimum qualifications for the job) unless, the employer can show that it would be an undue hardship to do so.
The Supreme Court has not addressed this issue so employers will need to be guided by the law in the state in which their business operates.
Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor
In-depth review of the spectrum of Connecticut employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to disabilities (ADA).
California has long been among the most active states when it comes to employment law. Anthony Oncidi, head of the labor and employment law group at the Los Angeles office of Proskauer Rose, discusses recent changes in the law plus other key challenges affecting California employers.
California is a bellwether state when it comes to employment law, and 2013 did nothing to diminish that reputation. In this new XpertHR podcast, management-side attorney Anthony Oncidi discusses key developments from the past year affecting California employers. Oncidi heads the labor and employment law group in the Los Angeles office of Proskauer Rose.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Alaska employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to the Americans with Disabilities act.
As previously reported, effective January 30, 2014, New York City employers with four or more employees may not terminate or refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation to a pregnant employee or an employee recovering from childbirth or a related medical condition if the employee requests an accommodation and the accommodation will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of her job. As part of its obligations under the new law, the New York City Human Rights Commission has released a written notice that employers must provide to all new hires at the start of employment and all current employees on or before January 30, 2014.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Louisiana employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to ADA disabilities.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Texas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to disabilities (ADA).
In-depth review of the spectrum of California employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to disabilities (ADA).
In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to disabilities.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Massachusetts employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to disabilities.
Employer considerations once an employee or applicant requests a reasonable accommodation. ADA help for the HR professional.