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This week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a publication addressing the mental health provider’s role in a person’s request for an ADA workplace accommodation. It’s not typical for the EEOC, the agency that enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the Department of Labor (DOL), the agency that enforces the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), to address providers directly.

In fact, neither the ADA nor the FMLA regulations require a provider to complete paperwork. Rather, both laws obligate only the employee when it comes to paperwork; the employee must submit paperwork to support an ADA accommodation or FMLA leave request, upon an employer’s request. An employee’s hands are tied, and the employee’s request may be denied if the employee’s medical provider won’t cooperate in completing the requested paperwork.

Both the ADA and FMLA allow an employer to use a paperwork form it chooses, so long as the questions on the form comply with the law, so an employee can’t get around their responsibility of submitting requested paperwork if the provider refuses to fill out the employer’s form (or supply the needed information in any fashion).

At ReedGroup, we often hear of employees’ challenges in getting their providers to complete the paperwork either at all, or for a reasonable fee. The health care provider is an unaware participant in the accommodation and leave process. Because of this, we are pleased to see the EEOC address the provider’s role in this recent publication regarding mental health and an ADA workplace accommodation request.

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