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ADA Compliance

March 10, 2008

Practical Advice on ADA Compliance

● Remember that the law contemplates an interactive process between the employee and employer following a request for a job accommodation because of a health condition.

● The focus of the conversation should initially be on the job performance, and the employer should be asking how he/she could help the employee perform.

● If a simple answer to the problem is not evident, then it is proper to determine if the employee has a disability that is covered by law.

● Once the employer has determined that the ADA covers this situation, then the next line of inquiry should be how the company can effectively make an accommodation (e.g., a hand truck, allowing more breaks for medication, restructuring a job, etc.) The key is what is effective, not necessarily what the employee wants.

● The employer should contact resources such as those in the section entitled Sources for Information on Assistive Devices, that have solid information and experience counseling employers with similar questions. Indeed, if the matter ends in litigation, all these efforts will go a long way toward mitigating damages or successfully defending a lawsuit.

● Courts have taken a dim view of employees who have not cooperated during this interactive process. Some courts have ruled that employees, who have not cooperated, have lost their right to a reasonable accommodation.

● As is the rule in personnel matters, employers must document every step along the way. It is simply the case that documentation is the most effective way of minimizing the impact of employee lawsuits over alleged violations in the workplace.

Information courtesy of:
What Every Business Manager and HR Professional Should Know About Federal Labor and Employment Laws

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