The Accommodation Conundrum: Bending Over Backwards . . .
While Enforcing Workplace Standards
With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covering more workers than ever before, careful reasonable accommodation management can mean the difference between disabled operations and a fully functioning workplace. The EEOC and employee-side trial attorneys recently have taken expansive views of the reasonable accommodation obligation, insisting upon accommodations that (a) fundamentally alter or remove essential job functions; (b) significantly impair employer operations; and (c) pose veritable undue hardships. EEO Legal Solutions successfully defended EEOC v. Picture People at the trial level and on appeal to the 10th Circuit, where the EEOC argued that this retail employer must allow a deaf/mute person to substitute written notes and gestures for oral conversation used sales dialogs, as a reasonable accommodation. Read more here: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/print-edition/2012/07/20/is-eeoc-too-aggressive.html. This litigation provides helpful insights into how the EEOC envisions the reasonable accommodation obligation and how employers can successfully fight back. We will offer effective strategies for managing the reasonable accommodation process, including practical guidance about how to establish core defenses like “fundamental alteration,” “undue hardship” and “elimination of essential function.”