If regular, consistent attendance is an essential function of an employee’s role, be sure that you are clearly indicating how and why that regular attendance is so important. This is crucially important for a number reasons, but chief among them is when an employee requests leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If an employee requests an accommodation of intermittent, unpaid leave under the ADA, but an employer has a clearly defined job description citing regular attendance as a major part of that employee’s job, it may be possible for an employer to deny that request. Remember, though, it is always wise to engage in the interactive process to find another accommodation that may allow the employee to continue meeting the expectations of their role. For help deciphering the ADA, the interactive process, or possible accommodations, consult one of our knowledgeable attorneys today.
Have you ever had an employee request a reasonable accommodation under the ADA (or at least give you enough information for you to suspect an ADA accommodation may be needed) and wonder what possible accommodations may exist for a disability you have either never heard of before (i.e., ataxia) or how to accommodate someone for a disability you’ve heard of, but don’t know how to accommodate (i.e., albinism). There is a great resource our there for companies who find themselves confused about what limitations a disability poses and what some ideas for possible accommodations might be: the Job Accommodation Network. This website gives a list of disabilities from A to Z, explains what the disability is, what the limitations of the disability are, and gives suggestions for possible accommodations. For example, ataxia is an impairment of the nervous system and its symptoms include unsteadiness and inability to coordinate movement. Some of the possible accommodations for inability to stand are anti-fatigue matting, assist lift cushions, grab bars or stand aids. Next time you are confronted with an unfamiliar disability and are questioning how to accommodate that, check out the Job Accommodation Network at https://askjan.org or call an attorney at myHRcounsel for assistance.