By: Ashlee Brennan, J.D., Compliance Associate and Megan Holstein, Esq., Director of Compliance
At Reed Group we’ve been talking about leave as an accommodation for years. We wrote a white paper on the topic when it became clear the EEOC would not issue long-awaited guidance on leave as an accommodation.
Three years later we are still waiting for guidance, and the EEOC continues to find fault in employer no-fault attendance policies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At the beginning of November, an Illinois-based company, Pactiv, settled an EEOC Disability Discrimination Class Investigation for $1.7million, alleging that Pactiv discriminated against disabled individuals by:
- discharging employees based on a policy of issuing attendance points for disability-related absences;
- not allowing intermittent time off as an ADA accommodation; and
- not extending leave as an ADA reasonable accommodation.
In addition to paying the settlement, Pactiv is required to take time-consuming and costly steps to prevent future discrimination, including:
- providing ADA training at all locations;
- revising and redistributing the ADA policy and procedures and the new attendance policy (which does not include assessing points for disability-related absences); and
- periodic reporting to the EEOC on all accommodation requests.
For more details, you can check out the press release here.
When it comes to ADA, we will continue to say it. Be flexible. Be accommodating.
Employers need to engage in the interactive process and consider employee accommodation requests based on individual needs. The EEOC Chicago District Director, Julianne Bowman, had this to say: “Employers need to get this message: Inflexible, strictly enforced leave policies can violate federal law.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Flexibility will save you time and money in the long run.
What’s The Best Solution?
Leave (pun intended!) ADA accommodation and compliance to the experts. Reed Group has both products and services available to ensure that your company ADA interactive process is actively managed and compliant. Don’t be found at fault with no-fault policies! Contact Reed Group today to learn more about our ADA products and services!