One of our Vigilant members has implemented a best practice that we think is worth sharing: annual check-ins with employees who are receiving workplace accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Annual Check-In: What’s Involved
The company sends the employee a letter each year, reviewing what accommodations have been made and asking: (1) whether the accommodation is still needed; and (2) if any additional discussion is needed to further engage in the interactive process.
The Benefits of Annual Check-Ins
Demonstrating Active Accommodation
This is a great idea. First, it reminds employees that their employer is actively accommodating their disabilities.
Reevaluate Necessity of Accommodations
Second, it can help identify whether an accommodation may no longer be needed. An employee, for example, may have forgotten that they are working with an accommodation; this letter offers them the opportunity to evaluate whether it’s still necessary. Rather than “set it and forget it” when it comes to workplace accommodations, this approach revisits the accommodation each year to ensure that it’s really needed.
Engage in an Ongoing Interactive Process
And finally, this process shows the employer’s ongoing support for individuals with disabilities in the workplace. By allowing employees an opportunity to review their current workplace accommodations, and offering input into whether it’s working for the employee, the employer is engaging in an ongoing interactive process. This process helps to show continued support for the employee and their disability.
Under the ADA, employers are required to engage in the interactive process with an employee who is unable to perform the essential functions of their position due to a disability. The purpose of the interactive process is to help identify workplace accommodations that will enable the individual to perform their job. Often, an employer and employee can identify a simple and practical adjustment that makes it possible for an employee to effectively work with their disability. Once the interactive process is complete and the workplace accommodation has been put in place, employers have a tendency to move on and never circle back with the employee about the accommodation that was made. With this process adjustment, we can change that.
ADA Resources for Employers
We have many resources discussing employer obligations under the ADA; here are just a few from our website available to Vigilant members: At a Glance: Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA: Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process, and ADA: Instructions on Reporting a Change in Medical Condition.
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