The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance on employer obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act to “initiate the interactive process” for reasonable accommodations before an employee request is received.
McAfee & Taft explain:
Employers must act reasonably when determining whether there exists sufficient notice to initiate the interactive process. Never assume an employee is disabled. While employers may have policies instructing their employees to provide written notice of the need for an accommodation, the employer cannot ignore verbal, visual or other cues. Make sure supervisory personnel are trained to report observations or information that may trigger the need to initiate the process without a request.
Once the employer has notice of a disability and the need for an accommodation, the ADA requires “(1) direct communication between the employer and employee to explore in good faith the possible accommodations; (2) consideration of the employee’s request; and (3) offering an accommodation that is reasonable and effective.”
Examples of situations where an employer should initiate the process include when the employer knows the employee has a disability, if the employer has reason to believe the employee is experiencing workplace problems due to the disability, or if the employer knows that “the disability prevents the employee from requesting a reasonable accommodation”.
For more information, please click here.
The information included in this blog post originally appeared in an article from McAfee & Taft EmployerLINC on July 27, 2018, written by Courtney Bru.