By Kevin Curry, Reed Group Senior Vice President and National Practice Leader

As I reviewed the results of the in-depth survey that Reed Group conducted with Spring Consulting Group on employer practices around the Americans with Disabilities Act, I kept finding reminders of a simple fact: the ADA is not easy for employers to interpret.

Even though it’s been around since 1990, most employers still have trouble understanding how to administer the Act. Based on the survey findings, there are a few steps that many of you probably need to take to get started on improving your ADA practices:

  1.  Update job descriptions to include essential functions. 30% of the employers who responded to our survey haven’t done so. Detailed job descriptions that include the physical requirements and essential functions of every job are crucial; if they’re not clearly defined, you’re missing a simple way to limit your exposure to ADA claims that might require costly accommodations.
  2. Update policies and procedures. Clearly defining how your organization will handle leave as an accommodation can prevent misunderstandings down the road.  Eliminate language that references automatic termination after leave for medical reasons; a review process should be outlined in the policies, and that process should be followed consistently.
  3. Don’t automatically agree to restructure jobs. Although 43% of the survey respondents indicated that they do restructure jobs in response to ADA claims, this is rarely required under the law, and nearly a third (27%) found it challenging to do so.

To learn more about the survey’s findings, download the white paper, “Survey: Employers and the ADA.”

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