According to the 2010 census, nearly 1 in every 5 Americans has a disability. Similarly, as of November 2014, the Department of Labor reported that individuals with disabilities accounted for 19.7% of the workforce.  With the focus of President Barack Obama and the EEOC Chair Jenny Yang on promoting the hiring of individuals with disabilities, that number is likely to grow in coming years. 

As employees with disabilities continue to be a prominent part of the US workforce, it is essential that employers, managers, and human resources professionals understand the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (“ADAAA”).  According to the Job Accommodation Network ("JAN"), a service from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the bulk of reasonable accommodations cost absolutely nothing, while the rest typically cost only $500.  However, the failure to accommodate an employee, or worse yet to engage in discrimination against an employee by stereotyping them because of their disability or retaliating against them, can be very costly.  In fact, the total monetary benefits obtained by the EEOC in cases involving alleged ADA violations, not including through litigation, has more than doubled since 1997 going from $41.3 million to $109.2 million in 2013.  This number does not include court awards obtain by the EEOC or any resolutions by private attorneys.  Given the cost of failing to comply with the ADA, the value of proper training cannot be understated.

Properly training supervisors, managers, and human resources professionals to recognize and respond to reasonable accommodation requests is an essential component of ADA compliance. Moreover, the ADA also contains a number of requirements for employers including identifying when making disability-related inquiries is appropriate, whether it is permissible to obtain confidential medical information, and how to properly maintain medical documentation once it is received.  Furthermore, reasonable accommodation requests are not always straightforward.  As a result, employers must understand when a reasonable accommodation has been requested, even if the request arose as part of a request for leave, related to a workers’ compensation claim, a Family Medical Leave Act request, or a request relating to pregnancy.  Once requested, a reasonable accommodation must be properly addressed through the interactive process and assessed for a determination of whether the individual making the request is a qualified individual with a disability and whether the employer can provide the employee with an effective accommodation.

Our workshops provide a comprehensive overview of the laws governing the reasonable accommodation act, including the ADA, ADAAA, and Rehabilitation Act.  Although we design each workshop to fit the needs of your organization, topics typically discussed during our workshops include:

  • Substantive Requirements of the ADA
  • Major Changes as a Result of the ADAAA
  • Applicable State Law
  • Key Terms and Definitions
  • Regulations and Policy
  • What Constitutes a Request for Reasonable Accommodation
  • How a Reasonable Accommodation can be Requested
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”)
  • Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
  • Workers’ Compensation Claims
  • Engaging in the Interactive Process
  • Providing Interim Accommodations
  • Identifying Essential Functions of a Position
  • Undue Hardship Defense
  • Direct Threat Defense
  • The Accommodation of Last Resort: Reassignment to a Vacant Position
  • Actions After a Reasonable Accommodation has been Provided
  • Medical Documentation to Support a Reasonable Accommodation Request
  • Storage and Maintenance of Medical Documentation
  • Pre- and Post-Employment Medical Inquires
  • Thinking About Reasonable Accommodation Options Unconstrained
  • Specific Accommodation Suggestions for Certain Disabilities

Workshops typically range from 2 to 8 hours in length, but can be adjusted to fit the specific needs of your organization.