Employers Beware: The EEOC Will Come Knocking if You Discriminate, Especially Against Individuals with Disabilities

Author: Melissa Burdorf, XpertHR Legal Editor

The EEOC has sent a clear message to employers - it will go after employers that discriminate - with a vengeance. The EEOC's ultimate mission - rid the workplace of all forms of discrimination. In fact, in just the last two weeks, the EEOC has filed over 20 discrimination cases, more than half of them being under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Employers should be on notice - they must take preventative actions to purge discrimination in the workplace.

Employers need to prevent many forms of discrimination in the workplace, which may include:

This list varies depending on what state(s) an employer is located in.

Because the EEOC has a current focus on disability discrimination, employers should immediately:

  • TRAIN all supervisors and managers on the ADA;
  • Create an ADA policy that prohibits discrimination and outlines for the process for requesting a reasonable accommodation;
  • Make sure all policies/documents are compliant with the ADA - this means throw out any policy that calls for the automatic termination of an employee after the employee has been absent for a certain period of time. An employer's attendance policies (and related policies/documents) must factor in a case-by-case analysis of the employee's situation and the employer's obligation to reasonably accommodate;
  • Promptly schedule a meeting with an employee once an employee notifies an employer that he or she is having difficulty performing the job because of a physical or mental impairment that may constitute a disability under the ADA;
  • Remember that the duty to accommodate is ongoing - it does not end the moment the employer provides an employee with an accommodation;
  • DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT - it is critical that employers keep accurate records of their efforts to comply with the ADA, including every effort to collect pertinent information; and
  • Keep all documentation that contains confidential medical information, and discussion of accommodations relating to such information, in separate files apart from the employee's personnel file.

XpertHR has many resources to help employers achieve a discrimination-free workplace while not sacrificing workplace efficiency.

Additional Resources

What Supervisors Need to Know About the ADA - Supervisor Briefing

Discrimination - Supervisor Briefing

EEO Policy

Discrimination Policy

Attendance Policy

How to Handle an Employee Returning from FMLA Leave Who May Need an ADA Accommodation

How to Handle an Employee's Request for Leave as an Accommodation

How to Prevent Disability Discrimination Claims

How to Engage in and Properly Document the Interactive Process Under the ADA

How to Prevent Discrimination in the Workplace

How to Prevent Discrimination Against Transgender, Transsexual or Cross-Dressing Employees in the Workplace

Employee Management > Disabilities (ADA)

Employee Management > Employee Privacy

Employee Management > EEO - Discrimination

Employee Management > Managing Employee in Special Situations > Workers With Disabilities

Employee Management > Recordkeeping

Proposed Law Would Require Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations to Pregnant Workers

EEOC Updates Strategic Enforcement Plan, Asks for Input