The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires companies work individually with employees with disabilities to provide them with the necessary and reasonable accommodations to do their jobs. Inflexible disability leave policies that fail to assess the employee’s individual needs can lead to company risk.
Instead of providing long leave of absences for employees, companies should work with the employee to return the employee to work as soon as possible with reasonable accommodations. Employers cannot require employees to be 100-percent healed before returning to work after an injury. Such policies are considered a violation to employers’ duty to accommodate.
If an employee needs a reasonable accommodation in order to perform their essential job duties when they return from leave, employers should engage in the interactive process with the employee. It is unacceptable for employers to have a policy saying that the employee will be terminated at the end of a set period of leave and not engage in the interactive process.
It is important for employers to review their company policy to ensure that they do not contain disability leave policies that put a set time limit or rigid return to work requirements. Accommodations provided should be “reasonable” and allow the employee to perform the essential tasks of the job.
Here at JH Consulting, we offer high-quality and valuable services to fit your company’s needs. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance with updating your employees’ handbook or your company’s policies to better complement these regulations.