Handling Claims Under the American's with Disabilities Act
Employers face very strict legal guidelines when employees raise issues that implicate the American's with Disabilities Act. Many employers, and especially front-line managers are unaware of the duties associated with the Act and miss key steps that would absolve the employer of liability.
Train Managers to Recognize when the American's With Disabilities Act is InvokedThere are no magic words an employee needs to use to raise ADA issues. For example, if an employee mentions needing help because of anything that can be construed as a disability, the ADA is in play whether the employee or manager knows it or not.
Employers Must Engage in an Interactive ProcessIt is the employer's responsibility to engage the employee to determine the limitations the employee faces and how the employer can reasonably accommodate those limitations. Failure to engage in this interactive process can have serious repercussions for the employer in litigation.
Recognize That the Standard is a Reasonable AccommodationThe employer has to provide a reasonable accommodation. However, the accommodation does not have to be the one demanded by the employee. Whether a proposed accommodation is reasonable is determined on a case by case basis.
Recognize that the Courts have Expanded what is a Reasonable AccommodationIn a recent case in Maryland, the Court stated that a reasonable accommodation includes not only reviewing what the employees limitations are and whether the employee can perform the functions of the position for which they were hired, but also whether the employee can perform the duties of any available position within the organization.