September 2021

Americans with Disabilities Act

Employers across the country have seen rising Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation requests, and more cases are expected as return-to-office plans and vaccination policies are implemented. This issue of @Work features practical guidance on accommodation options, including remote work, job reassignment, ergonomic home workspaces, and much more.

Features

Working From Home: A Pandemic Experiment with Staying Power

Reluctant to give up the flexibility and better quality of life found during the COVID-19 pandemic, highly skilled workers are signaling that the concept of five days in the office is dead. And previously reluctant employers are embracing the upside of more liberal work-from-home policies. Read more.

How Businesses Can Help Employees Create Ergonomic Home Workspaces

Changes to the work environment over the past year have created a new reality for today’s businesses. Many employers now need to provide equipment — such as monitors, keyboards, headsets, or wrist pads — and resources such as a vocational specialist to assist employees with ergonomic home workspaces. Read more.

Spotlight Articles

ESIS

Program Showcase: Disabilities & Remote Work

For some people with disabilities, reporting to a workplace every day can be a challenge. One solution is telecommuting, which disability rights advocates have historically urged employers to consider for employees with disabilities. While there has been some reticence on the part of employers over the years, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this attitude due to the widespread shift to remote work. Read more.

Program Showcase: Job Reassignment

It sometimes happens that an employer explores accommodations, but nothing can help the employee succeed in the original position. In cases like this, employers may need to reassign the employee to a different job to accommodate the functional limitations. Read more.

Compliance Showcase: COVID-19 & Accommodation

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of employment in unexpected ways. From the rise in telework to mask mandates, unprecedented modifications have brought new and lasting challenges to the forefront of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more.

Columns

Absence Matters: Creative Accommodation Solutions

The ADA is ultimately about doing everything you can to keep an employee at work or returning them as quickly and as safely as possible. Thus, if you can find or create a solution that helps your employee stay at work, everyone wins. Read more.

Integrated Absence Management: RTW in the COVID Era

These are unprecedented times. The working environment has changed for most everyone. Although the process of returning to work after an illness or injury may be different, the main strategies that lead to optimal health and return to work are the same. Read more.

Engaging Today's Workforce: Return-to-Office Plans

As employers ramp up “return to normal” plans across the country, they are exploring options such as full-time in-office or “hybrid” workplace environments. While some employees may welcome these changes, many younger workers may be concerned about diminished flexibility compared to working from home, leading to stress and anxiety. Read more.

Employer Solutions: Helping Employees Transition

Nobody goes into business to fail, so why set your employees up to stumble? Without proper support — and sometimes a Plan B — that can happen to an employee trying to return from a disability leave. When the returning employee’s abilities cannot meet the demands of the current job, an employer has options. Read more.

Featured Case: Reassignment Accommodation

When you cannot find an effective reasonable accommodation to enable an employee to perform the current job, consider reassignment; look for open, available positions that might better suit the employee’s ADA needs. Read more.

IAM Technology Tips: Interactive Process

A record four million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department. Employers should be well-equipped to stave off these resignations through the tried-and-true interactive process, required through the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more.

Leave Management By the Numbers: Restaurant Industry Trends

Restaurants face staffing challenges, including high turnover rates, a high percentage of hourly employees, and constantly changing work schedules of varying lengths. This makes monitoring and controlling leave usage very difficult. With tight budgets, human resources and benefits teams are lean and always expected to do more with less, so efficiency is key. Read more.

Common Sense Compliance: Back to the Office

As COVID-19 work-related restrictions abate, employers can expect challenges with requests for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, state and local disability discrimination laws, pregnancy accommodation laws, and privacy laws related to medical inquiries. Read more.

RTW & Disability: 31 Years Post-ADA

In the three decades since the ADA became law, our country has come a long way towards being more inclusive for individuals with disabilities. As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, we must take steps to continue those efforts by eliminating stigmas and stereotypes and promoting equality through reasonable accommodations. Read more.

The Disabled Workforce: Managing Reasonable Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act was put in place to help people with disabilities. But today, too few significantly disabled Americans are able to enter or stay in the workforce. As disability compliance practitioners, how can we revolutionize this? Read more.

Departments

DMEC's FMLA/ADA Training for Supervisors and Managers

The CEO's Desk: Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Integrated absence management has always included an element of prevention — of disability and needless time off work, of lawsuits, and of loss of intellectual capital. But prevention comes with challenges. Read more.

Employer Perspective: Supporting Working Parents During the Pandemic

As many have experienced first-hand, being a working parent has not been easy during the pandemic. Unfortunately, the role continues to be difficult — whether you have transitioned back to the office or have become a permanent or flex work-from-home employee. Read more.

DMEC News: September 2021

This issue features updates on the new ADA Accommodation Process Microcredential Course as well as the winners of the 2021 DMEC Partnership Award and the 2021 DMEC Emerging Leader Award. Read more.

Compliance Memos: September 2021

The September 2021 compliance memos cover an ADA case with no return-to-work date in the 5th Circuit, vaccination considerations for employers, and long COVID as an ADA disability. Read more.

Compliance Memos_July 2016