This is something to get excited about!
The EEOC has just issued a very significant “resource document” for both employers and employees concerning leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The document is: Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
No new policy had been created, but the intent of the EEOC was to “consolidate existing guidance on ADA and leave into one place, addressing issues that arise frequently regarding leave as a reasonable accommodation, including the interactive process, maximum leave policies, ‘100 percent healed’ policies, and reassignment.”
This subject can get complicated and it is something that employers are easily confused about, or can get wrong.
The EEOC noted that charges of ADA violations have increased substantially, and that “One troubling trend the EEOC has identified in ADA charges is the prevalence of employer policies that deny or unlawfully restrict the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation. These policies often serve as systemic barriers to the employment of workers with disabilities. They may cause many workers to be terminated who otherwise could have returned to work after obtaining needed leave without undue hardship to the employer. EEOC regulations already provide that reasonable accommodations may include leave, potentially including unpaid leave that exceeds a company’s normal leave allowances.”
Takeaway: This is something that all HR people should print out, read, and keep readily available.