WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Once you have disclosed, you formally enter what is known under the ADA, American’s with Disabilities Act, as the interactive process. The interactive process is defined as an open exchange of information with the goal being to ascertain your precise job-related limitations, how those limitations may be overcome with a reasonable accommodation, to identify potential accommodations and to assess their effectiveness.
The interactive process has two primary objectives:
- To identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability of the employee or applicant.
- To identify potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations.
As an employee, it is generally your responsibility to request an accommodation. In doing so, it will be helpful if you can describe the accommodations as workplace supports or productivity tools.
Some examples of reasonable accommodations/productivity tools are as follows:
- Making existing facilities accessible
- Job restructuring
- Part-time or modified work schedules
- Acquiring or modifying equipment
- Reassignment to a vacant position
Here are examples of what is not required under a reasonable accommodation:
- Removing of essential job functions
- Creating of new jobs
- Providing personal need items such as eye glasses and mobility aids
- Maintaining same pay and benefits for accommodating a change from full-time to part-time
- Tolerating violation of company conduct rules
Once you have had this dialogue, your manager may need to consult with others in the firm to find the best solutions to help you meet your own needs as well as those of the department and the company. If that is the case, you should ask when you can expect him/her to get back to you with next steps. You should and can expect an appropriate, fair and timely response. Keep in mind that while your employer’s response should be “expeditious,” it may not be immediate.
If you find yourself having difficulty communicating with your manager or if your manager seems unresponsive, you should immediately contact your human resources representative.
Once you come to an agreement with your manager and/or human resources, keep them informed if your needs change in any way that will impact your agreed-upon plan.