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EEOC’s Views On Accommodation Under Amended ADA Discussed.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working on new guidance regarding reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act as the ADA Amendments Act, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2009, put new emphasis on accommodating otherwise qualified applicants and employees with disabilities, EEOC commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic said during a recent American Bar Association webinar.

In the online session co-sponsored by the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, the Commission on Disability Rights, and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, Feldblum said the ADA Amendments Act clarified who is a person with a disability under the ADA, but did not change the reasonable accommodation analysis.

The starting point for analyzing reasonable accommodation issues remains EEOC guidance originally issued in 1999 and revised in 2002, Feldblum said. But she said the ADA Amendments Act “sort of hit the reset button,” and EEOC currently is re-evaluating its guidance as it anticipates an increasing focus by employers and courts on reasonable accommodation issues.

EEOC last year issued a final rule revising its ADA regulations to account for the ADA Amendments Act (62 BTM 99, 3/29/11). EEOC also held a public meeting regarding leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA (62 BTM 185, 6/14/11).  Read the full article on Bloomberg BNA here.

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EEOC Posts Guidance Regarding ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against a qualified individual on the basis of a disability. Many employers struggle to interpret and apply this law, especially in light of amendments made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the governmental agency charged with enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination, provides helpful resources on its website.

One such resource is “The Americans With Disabilities Act: Applying Performance and Conduct Standards to Employees with Disabilities.” This resource provides practical guidance, including examples, to demonstrate an employer’s responsibilities when performance and conduct problems arise concerning a disabled employee. This publication discusses the role of reasonable accommodations in preventing or addressing performance or conduct problems and the circumstances in which an accommodation should be granted. It covers topics such as attendance issues, dress code violations, alcohol use, and confidentiality concerns.

This publication uses a question and answer format to address questions employers might raise. For example, the publication addresses whether an employer may use the same evaluation criteria for employees with disabilities as for employees without disabilities and whether an employer may discipline an employee if the employee’s disability caused a violation of a conduct rule.

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