From the desk of Tracie DeFreitas, M.S., Principal Consultant — ADA Specialist
An effective human resource professional or manager of employees with disabilities, must be knowledgeable about a wide range of disability-employment issues. It may not be necessary to be an expert, but it is important to know what resources to access for guidance and support when handling challenging accommodation, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) issues. Navigating the interactive process and interpreting the requirements of the various regulations affecting the employment of individuals with disabilities can be daunting – but doesn’t have to be. Many expert resources are available to assist employers and can be part of your organization’s go-to ADA/accommodation toolkit. Consider the following resources:
- National Employment Law Institute (NELI) Training and Publications
NELI is a non-profit, continuing education organization that conducts employment law seminars and webinars, offers in-house ADA training and consulting, and publishes employment law related publications. The organization offers an ADA Workshop and an ADA & FMLA Compliance Update, available several times a year in cities all over the United States. These workshops address critical ADA and FMLA workplace developments, including significant court cases, new and noteworthy EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor policies, and the latest questions raised by HR, EEO, legal, and medical professionals. To coincide with the ADA Workshop, NELI offers its publication, Resolving ADA Workplace Questions: How Courts and Agencies are Dealing with Employment Issues. This comprehensive manual includes an up-to-date review of cases involving complex disability issues and is an excellent and practical resource to include in your ADA/accommodation toolkit.
- JAN and AskJAN.org
JAN offers free, expert consultation on job accommodation solutions for individuals with disabilities in all industries, all job categories, and for all types of medical impairments and limitations, as well as targeted technical assistance regarding the employment provisions of the ADA. Contact JAN to communicate with an experienced JAN Consultant who will offer individualized, one-on-one consultation related to your specific concerns.
We meet you wherever you are in the process of gathering information about accommodations and the ADA. Also, JAN offers a number of accommodation and ADA resources through the AskJAN.org website, including: JAN authored publications; resources by disability, topic, and limitation; sample accommodation-related forms; an ADA library that offers easy access to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement guidances; free ADA and accommodation training modules and Webcasts; access to social media; the JAN Blog; and quarterly JAN E-News, among other resources. The JAN service can be a vital partner in the interactive process. For contact information, go to AskJAN.org.
- EEOC Enforcement Guidance
Interpreting and applying the ADA regulations to everyday accommodation situations can be challenging. The EEOC issues practical guidance that can help employers manage the complexities of ADA compliance in the workplace. JAN Consultants frequently refer to these guidance documents for EEOC’s interpretation of the ADA and how to apply the regulations.
EEOC guidance documents do not have the force of law but can be quite useful in determining next steps in the interactive process and best practices in providing reasonable accommodation. Many EEOC guidance and technical assistance documents exist. JAN provides easy access to these guidance documents on the JAN Website through the ADA Library. Consider including at least the following EEOC guidance documents as part of your ADA/accommodation toolkit:
- FMLA Insights Blog
The FMLA Insights blog is a legal blog authored by Jeff Nowak, co-chair of Franczek Radelet’s Labor and Employment Practice. The blog provides insight and analysis on the FMLA, ADA, and similar employment legislation. Franczek Radelet created FMLA Insights to provide an outlet to help employers navigate the FMLA. The goal of the blog is straightforward: to keep employers aware of notable court cases involving FMLA issues and provide practical advice to help them avoid getting tripped up by the regulations.
When employers are better aware of their rights and obligations under the FMLA and ADA, it leads to reduced liability and happier, more productive employees – this blog can help employers achieve these positive outcomes. Jeff Nowak, is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost FMLA and ADA experts, regularly counseling clients on compliance with FMLA and ADA regulations, conducting FMLA/ADA audits and training, and successfully litigating FMLA and ADA lawsuits. The FMLA Insights blog is highly informative, timely, quite witty, and certainly worth including as part of your ADA/accommodation toolkit.
JAN does not recommend or endorse products or services, but the resources shared here will benefit those who are responsible for navigating the interactive accommodation process. For additional accommodation and ADA information and resources, please contact JAN.