An employee’s personal injury can turn into costly litigation without the interactive process. Following these simple steps will help you avoid this.
- Supervisor informs Human Resources right away upon becoming aware of a need for accommodation or disability issue. This could be due to an employee request, an applicant with a need for accommodations to have an equal opportunity to compete for a job, becoming aware through observation or through a third party, or the employee with a disability has exhausted all leaves, but the employee or their doctor indicates that further accommodation is still necessary.
- Initiate the interactive process with the employee in a timely manner to identify any job-related limitations. Request reasonable medical documentation of functional limitations from the medical provider, unless limitations are obvious or already known, but don’t ask the employee to disclose the nature of the disability.
- Review the job description with the supervisor to determine which job functions are essential and non-essential. Include employees input and take notes to confirm that agreement.
- Meet with supervisor and employee to brainstorm reasonable accommodations enabling the employee to perform the essential functions of the position or to enjoy equivalent benefits of employment compared to non-disabled employees. If reassignment to an alternate position is considered as a possible accommodation, the employee can be requested to provide qualifications and work experience to assist in finding suitable alternative positions.
- District selects feasible option considering the preference of the employee, but the District has the right to implement a reasonable accommodation that is effective in allowing the employee to perform the essential functions of the position. While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations (g., removal of an essential job function or personal use items such as hearing aids that are needed on and off the job), reasonable accommodations can cover most things that enable an individual to apply for, perform, or have equal access to the job and workplace such as kitchens, parking lots, and office events.
- Discuss the implementation steps of selected accommodation with all parties.
- Document process and maintain medical information and/or records obtained during the process in a confidential medical file separate from the employee’s personnel file.
- Initiate annual review if needed. Check in with employee and supervisor after implementation to discuss how the accommodation is working for the employee. Medical documentation substantiating the need for continued reasonable accommodations can be requested on an annual basis.
ASCIP provides members with useful resources to help you conduct successful reasonable accommodation interactive meetings with your employees, including providing you customizable tools under our Risk Services tab on our website or by clicking HERE. Contact an ASCIP Risk Services Consultant, if you have questions or need more detailed assistance.