ADA Leave Compliance: Are You Sure Your House Is in Order?
By Lori Welty, JD
Disability accommodations required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include a broad array of adjustments, ranging from alterations to a workspace to the ability to work from home. Another type of accommodation has received more attention in the absence management industry lately: leave as an accommodation, a period of time off work designed to enable a disabled employee to return to work.
Employers can find themselves at substantial litigation risk if they do not carefully consider leave as an accommodation prior to terminating an employee who cannot return to work following an absence. To protect themselves, leave managers need to exhaust the interactive process by conducting a complete evaluation of requested accommodations. Employers have recently been hit with hefty judgments and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) consent decrees, proving that a one-size-fits-all approach can cost a company millions. It is in all parties’ best interests to establish and utilize a comprehensive process to evaluate each accommodation for compliance.
Keeping It in Order: An Employer Checklist
Employers are recommended to use repeatable standards to determine whether an accommodation is reasonable and required under the ADA. There are three recommended tests to assess an accommodation request:
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