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ADA and FEHA: Always document interactive discussion process to find accommodations

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Under both the federal ADA and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) disability discrimination provisions, employers are required to engage in an interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodation for an employee’s covered disability would be reasonable.

The process is designed for a give-and-take approach. The presumption is that by discussing possible accommodations, the employer and worker will arrive at some sort of consensus. Employers that don’t take this seriously risk being sued for failing to engage in the interactive accommodations process.

However, if the worker derails the process, then the employer no longer has to continue the discussions.

That’s why it is important to track the interactive process. Carefully document any refusal to discuss accommodations so you can show when, where and how the process broke down.

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