Court Decisions Muddy ADA Accommodation Definition

Jonathan R. Mook, attorney and ADA expert, wrote an excellent article about recent court decisions regarding “Reasonable Accommodation” and how these circuit court decisions have made it more difficult for employers. The article written in HR Magazine (sorry SHRM membership required) points out that three different Circuit Courts have decided cases that require employers to apply reasonable accommodation not only to individual with actual disabilities under ADA, but also to individuals perceived as having a disability. He feels this split court situation will eventually end up in the Supreme Court and he encourages all HR people to pay attention to this developing situation.

In his article he gave a very clear example of how to determine if an accommodation is needed and whether it is reasonable. There are four steps:

  1. Conduct a job analysis
  2. Identify performance barriers
  3. Consider potential accommodations
  4. Assess reasonableness in choosing among reasonable accommodations (The point here is that the reasonable accommodation selected does not need to be the best accommodation possible. It just has to allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job.)

Here is also a link to the USDOL website on the Accommodation Process.

Watch the news and the SHRM website for news on this newly developing application of “reasonable accommodation.”

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