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Employment eAlert: Time to Revise Your ADA Reasonable Accommodation Policy

May 2014

If you have a Reasonable Accommodation Policy that is used to obtain information from employees as part of the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the EEOC has some suggestions about the legality of terms typically included in such policies.

Instead of using complicated, overly-detailed forms, the EEOC advises employers to ask "in plain English, a few questions that will help to determine whether the employee has a disability and needs a reasonable accommodation." For example, "a form could ask information about the nature of the requestor's impairment and its expected duration; the kind of activities, including major bodily functions, that the impairment affects; and the way in which the activities are affected." And "how an accommodation would assist the individual to apply for a job, perform the job's essential functions, or enjoy equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment."

Employers should avoid using any form or issuing any policy that makes it harder for an employee to establish a disability, more difficult for an employee to obtain an accommodation for the disability, or suggests that coverage under the ADA is narrower than the law actually provides.

The EEOC's informal discussion letter analyzing a proposed Reasonable Accommodation Policy can be found here: www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/foia/letters/2014/ada_reasonable_accommodation_02_25.html

If you have any questions about the ADA, Oregon's disability laws, or any other employment law issues, please feel free to contact us.

Check out our Employment Law Blog to stay updated on current issues: employmentlaw.sussmanshank.com.

This article was written by Elizabeth Semler, former Sussman Shank LLP Employment Law Partner.

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