Many staffing professionals find navigating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) one of the most challenging parts of the employment process, especially when it comes to understanding reasonable accommodations. NOLO, the legal encyclopedia, defines a reasonable accommodation as any assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Under the ADA, all U.S. employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, as longs as it does not cause “undue hardship” for the employer. The ADA describes a qualified employee as one who holds the necessary degrees, skills, and experience for the position and can preform all essential functions of the role.
In some situations, there may be no “reasonable accommodation” that an employer can make available to an employee, however in most cases there things employers and staffing industry professionals can do to help facilitate these accommodations. Experts agree that one of the best ways to determine whether or not accommodations for a specific worker can be made or not, employers should engage the employee in an interactive discussion about their needs and discuss the range of possibilities.
Here are a few key points that employers should consider when determining whether accommodations can be made for a worker with a disability.
- Can the job responsibilities and functions be altered? Consider what tasks and functions are vital to that role, and assess whether there are any non-essential job functions that the employer could redistribute to other employees in order to accommodate the worker’s needs?
- Can the employer adjust the employee’s schedule to allow the employee to seek professional treatment or take extra break/ rest periods?
- Is there a less demanding available position for which the employee is qualified that would not create the same or other complications?
Staffing industry members are accustomed to encountering diversity though the course of their work, and most staffers will encounter workers with some form of disability or another during their tenure. As such, it is vital that staffing firms understand the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements when looking to place these workers. Staffing agents play an essential role in facilitating the placement of impaired individuals and ensuring their host employer adheres to all ADA guidelines and regulations. Mismanagement of any employment case can have devastating implications, especially if legal claims of discrimination are involved.
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