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“It needs to be done promptly, and you certainly never want to have a request for accommodation be used as an excuse to take some sort of adverse employment action like a demotion or firing.”Kuczynski, the EEOC legal counsel, encouraged employers to document the interactive process step by step.
He is a proponent of set reasonable accommodation policies but warned that one size does not fit all when developing form letters and questionnaires that are given to employees.“I caution employers not to assume that the right questions for one employee with disability are the right questions for every employee with a disability or even every employee with the same disability who asks for reasonable accommodation,’’ Kuczynski explained.
In enacting the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Congress made it easier for an individual seeking protection to establish that he or she has a disability.
With the amendment’s expanded definition of what constitutes a protected disability, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates that the resulting increase in reasonable accommodations requested by employees and job applicants and required of employers could range from 2 million to 6.1 million.
“That’s where I see policy sometimes fall short is that the same form letter is given to each person and often that form letter asks for more information than is necessary to understand whether the person has a disability and has limitations for which they need accommodations.”The program was sponsored by the ABA Commission On Disability Rights, Commission on Law and Aging, Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Section of State and Local Government Law, Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, Young Lawyers Division, and the Center for Professional Development.
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Generally it is the employee who initiates a request for accommodation and this can be done in several ways:“An employer must meet the employee half way.
After SDS determines a student’s eligibility, it will issue the student an Accommodation Determination Letter, which outlines the precise reasonable accommodations that the University must provide.
The American Bar Association-sponsored webinar “Accommodating Workers with Disabilities: Best Practices for Employers and Employees” looked at the issues involved and provides an overview of reasonable accommodations under the ADA to help counsel advocate for employers and employees.
Moderator Tom Harrington, principal with the Employment Law Group in Washington, D.
The panelists included Ellen Mc Laughlin, a partner in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP; Christopher J.
Kuczynski, assistant legal counsel and director of the ADA/GINA Policy Division at the EEOC; and Julia Campins, a founding partner of Campins Benham-Baker LLP in San Francisco.
Reasonable accommodation in the classroom is a provision of federal and state laws including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly known as Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, commonly known as the ADA.