Absence Matters: Managing the Interactive Process

DMEC Staff

Managing the Interactive Process Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Interactive Process Under ADABy Bryon Bass

SVP, Disability and Absence Practice & Compliance

Today, employers must comply with federal, state, city, and county laws that govern employee leave of absence and accommodations. The challenges of these multi-layered regulatory complexities are compounded by common organizational structures and program management approaches. Many organizations still maintain departmental silos, making it difficult to consistently comply with legal mandates as well as the organization’s own internal policies and procedures. Despite these challenges, an employer can take certain steps to implement a more consistent and effective approach to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) interactive accommodation process.

The ADA interactive process helps an employer and employee work together to identify and accommodate a disabling condition that prevents the employee from performing essential functions of the job. This typically consists of an interactive dialogue between the employee, supervisor, and a human resource representative or ADA coordinator. Employers are further advised to include the employee’s heathcare provider as an additional source of information related to the impairment, potential restrictions or limitations, and guidance as to whether or not an accommodation will likely be successful.

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