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How should learning disabilities be documented?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. We have an employee who claims he has a learning disability and needs accommodations. What kind of documentation can we ask for? And do we have to pay for a medical assessment?

A. When an applicant or employee has requested a reasonable accommodation of a disability protected under the ADA and the need for accommodation isn’t obvious, you may ask the worker for documentation regarding the disability and related functional limitations.

You are entitled to confirmation that the worker suffers from a disability covered under the statute. According to the EEOC, the worker’s documentation must state that the worker suffers from a disability protected under the ADA and that he or she requires a reasonable accommodation.

If a worker provides insufficient documentation, the EEOC contends, you should explain why the information is lacking and give the worker an opportunity to obtain the necessary information in a timely manner. If the worker fails to do so, you may request an examination by a health care professional of your choosing (at your expense).

According to the EEOC, sufficient documentation of a learning disability should include a specific diagnosis (as specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association), evidence that the health professional who made the diagnosis has expertise regarding learning disabilities and information regarding the basis for the diagnosis. Additionally, the documentation should address the major life activities limited by the learning disorder.

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