I’ve been blogging about the need for employers to put into place internal policies and procedures that are flexible enough to fairly and promptly address accommodation requests by those with disabilities. Yet, some employers are not listening. American Apparel, Inc., a clothing manufacturer employing thousands of workers at its production facility in Los Angeles and at retail stores around the country, will pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC charged that the company violated the ADA when it fired a garment worker while he was on leave because of a disability, and thereby failed to accommodate him based upon that disability.
People with disabilities can make very productive and creative employees. The ability for them to flourish is dependent on an employer's approach to handling requests for reasonable accommodation. The cost of accommodations is often minimal, yet the benefits to employees as well as their employers are infinite.
As the new year approaches, make plans now to: 1) develop a comprehensive ADA policy; 2) schedule training to managers and supervisors regarding the ADA to include rights of workers and responsibilities of employers; 3) inform employees about their rights under the ADA and how to seek accommodations under it; and, 4) designate an ADA coordinator who will oversee implementation company policy about ADA.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.