By Jon Hyman
Feb. 22, 2016
Two recent EEOC cases illustrate the importance of employers engaging in the ADA’s interactive process to determine if one can offer a disabled employee a reasonable accommodation.
Once an employer becomes aware of the need for a reasonable accommodation, the ADA obligates it to engage in an interactive process with the employee to identify and implement appropriate reasonable accommodations. That process requires communication and good-faith exploration of possible accommodations. An employer cannot dismiss, without discussion, accommodations. An employer cannot even rely on state workers’ comp laws or standards. The interactive process is mandatory, period.
Communication between an employer and a disabled employee is the key to avoiding problems under the ADA. Do not commit the cardinal ADA sin of having a failure to communicate. Talk with your employees. You’d be surprised how many problems you can head off with a simple conversation.
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