How does a company proceed after an employee has informed her employer that she has a medical condition or disability and that she needs certain changes to her working environment?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to engage in an interactive process with an employee to determine whether or not the employee can perform the essential functions of the job with or without an accommodation. The ADA permits employers to ask the employee to provide medical documentation to establish the existence of a disability or medical condition and the need for an accommodation. The best way to determine if an appropriate accommodation exists is to engage in an interactive process with the employee, as recommended by the EEOC. In this process, the employer should gather information about the essential functions and requirements of the job, information about the disability, and discuss different options with the employee and management. Failure to engage in this interactive process could result in legal liability for the employer, so it is very important that the employer consult with legal or employment counsel while working through these types of requests from employees.

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