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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Hiring doesn’t end accommodation process

The obligation to accommodate disabled job applicants is ongoing, throughout the employee’s tenure on the job. That’s the lesson recently learned by an employer that should have known better.

Begin interactive accommodations process as soon as employee tells you about disability

When confronted with an accommodation request you believe is based on a valid disability, do what you can to help. Otherwise, you may face a lawsuit, especially if the worker feels threatened or punished for his requests or is terminated.

Don’t delay: Act on termination decision ASAP

When you have good reason to fire a worker, it makes little sense to put off acting on your decision. That’s especially true if it’s for poor performance. Otherwise, if the employee’s work improves in the interim and he has decided to complain about discrimination, your subsequent termination may look like retaliation.

Understand interplay between FMLA, ADA when employee must care for family member

Employees may have the right to take time off to care for a disabled family member under the FMLA, but the same isn’t true under the ADA for a request for reasonable accommodations of time off to care for the same family member.

EEOC: Assisted living facility in McKinney, Texas violated ADA

Enlivant, an nationwide provider of assisted-living residences, faces an EEOC lawsuit alleging the company illegally terminated a chef who worked at its North Brook Place facility in McKinney, Texas.

ADA requires accommodating disabled customers, too

Don’t ignore public access requests—or worse yet, lawsuits over accessibility. That may lead to a so-called default judgment.

ADA blame game creates hostile environment

Instruct all employees to treat everyone with respect and avoid crass blame games.

Don’t keep shopping for better doc opinions

If two independent medical opinions say that an employee is healthy enough to return to work, don’t go chasing a third opinion. Courts frown on medical-opinion shopping and could see your actions as discriminatory.

Federal jury: Walmart must pay $5.2 million for ADA violation

The EEOC won a major victory in federal court Oct. 11 when a jury awarded $5.2 million to a long-time Walmart employee who was suddenly denied an ADA accommodation that had been working for years.

Not every illness constitutes a disability

Fortunately, not every medical malady is a disability under the ADA. Workers must prove their condition substantially limits a major life activity.