Disability in the Workplace: The ADA

DMEC Staff@Work

ADA Requires Training, Process, Documentation

ADA TrainingBy Marjory Robertson, JD

AVP, Senior Counsel
Sun Life Financial

By Abigail O’Connell, JD

Senior Counsel
Sun Life Financial

Employers risk litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they do not train managers and human resources (HR) about their ADA accommodation obligations, establish processes that facilitate the good-faith interactive process, and ensure that accommodation decisions are legally compliant.

Train, Retrain, and Remind

Managers and HR must be trained to recognize when the interactive process is triggered and how to respond. Common missteps, like asking for employees’ medical information, carry great legal risks and require education for your front-line team. Training should also include regular reminders to HR and managers not to comment about an employee’s medical condition in performance reviews, emails, and other communications.

A Formal Accommodation Process

Employers should adopt a formal, clearly-written accommodation process advising employees that if they have a medical condition or are pregnant, they may request an accommodation. This accommodation process should be administered centrally by trained HR professionals. Employers have the right to request reasonable medical documentation to support an accommodation request, unless the need for accommodation is obvious.

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