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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Disabled or not, you’re justified to call regular attendance an essential job function

Disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their disabilities if those accommodations allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But smart employers make it clear that, generally speaking, regular attendance is both expected and essential to the job.

Accommodate bathroom breaks related to disability

Some medical conditions that may be ADA disabilities require disabled workers to visit the bathroom more frequently and for longer than other workers. Warn supervisors to accommodate those problems after engaging in the interactive accommodation process.

No FEHA accommodation required if it won’t enable disabled employee to perform job

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act offers protection for disabled workers who need reasonable accommodations in order to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But that protection isn’t unlimited.

You’re responsible for outsourced mistakes

Employers may assume that outsourcing an HR function to an expert provider will insulate them from liability in case of some legal mistake. That’s not always true.

Cooperative dialogue versus interactive accommodations process

Q. I’m a New York City employer. One of my workers recently requested a copy of the decision to deny her an accommodation. She says she’s entitled to a copy of the cooperative dialogue decision. Do I have to give her something in writing?

Claim of hostile work environment based on disability may add up to ADA lawsuit

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled for the first time that the ADA allows disabled workers to sue separately if they experience a hostile work environment based on their disability. That’s true even if the disabled worker doesn’t have a failure-to-accommodate or a disability discrimination claim.

Beware presumptions about alcoholism

Alcoholism may be an FMLA-covered serious health condition. If an employee returns to work after taking FMLA leave to rehab from a drinking problem, warn supervisors to check their presumptions about alcoholism. Doing or saying the wrong thing could violate the FMLA, the ADA or both.

EEOC suit: Goodwill refused to accommodate disability

Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey, which provides job opportunities to people with disabilities, violated federal law when it failed to provide reasonable accommodations that would have allowed an employee to continue working as an office building janitor in New York City, the EEOC charged in a recently filed lawsuit.

Avoid preconceptions about what disabled employees can and cannot do

Stick to the tasks you’ve identified as essential. Don’t change the list of essential job functions based on what you think you know about the disability.

Reasonable accommodation offered and refused? You have met your ADA obligations

If it’s clear there’s no reasonable accommodation that will allow the worker to perform his present job, then the employer is free to offer another position he can perform, even if it pays less. If the worker refuses the offer, then he has ended the interactive process.