Compliance Showcase: ADA Interactive Process

DMEC Staff@Work

Latest EEOC Requirements in the ADA Interactive Process

By Marjory D. Robertson, JD

AVP and Senior Counsel
Sun Life Financial

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal anti-discrimination laws including the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Pregnancy Nondiscrimination Act. The EEOC has made a top priority of enforcing disability and pregnancy workplace accommodation legal requirements, and they are addressed in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for fiscal years 2017–2021. The EEOC intends to aggressively pursue employers who fail to comply with these legal requirements through inflexible leave policies, 100% healed/no restrictions return-to-work (RTW) requirements, and refusals to provide accommodations for pregnancy-related limitations.

To achieve its enforcement agenda, the EEOC regularly files suit against employers. Those lawsuits often result in consent decrees that levy substantial fines on impacted employers and impose extensive ongoing supervision, reporting, training, and other requirements for two to three years, if not longer. The EEOC is increasingly requiring employers to agree to create a centralized ADAAA and pregnancy accommodation process as part of a consent decree. Figure 1 summarizes significant recent EEOC consent decrees, followed by common-sense approaches to help you avoid these types of actions by the EEOC.

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