In surveys conducted recently by researchers, half of U.S. employers are unsure of how to interpret ADA accommodations and implement provision without avoiding organizational hardship. Wisconsin employers and employees now have the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act for reference with regard to the definition and broadened terms of disability. This amendment to the ADA allowed an increase in the pool of protected individuals. However, further clarity may still need to be provided to ensure protection of disabled individuals in the workplace.
Many employers are unsure of exactly how to interpret the ADA and overlapping laws and standards. They may be incapable of providing the proper accommodations for all levels of disabled employees, which leads to confusion and turmoil in the workplace. Specific subjects of confusion, according to the survey, include scheduling, vacant position reassignment and job restructuring. Not surprisingly, costs and time prove to be the most challenging aspects of provision of accommodations.
Professionals advise employers to work with all employees and enact an interactive process in providing accommodations, focusing on what will be beneficial for all parties. Potential accommodations should also be looked at from every angle to eliminate rigid interpretation and implementation. Starting a dialogue that involves supervisors and disabled employees can add insight and shed light on what is truly needed for job performance and functionality. Policies can be carefully crafted with regard to decision-making processes and may be utilized in training processes, too.
Consistency and collective understanding are key elements of successful interpretation and implementation of accommodations for all levels of disabled employees. Although many may remain unclear as to how accommodations should be provided, the Americans with Disabilities Act and several other standards have been created to protect employees in Wisconsin. If an employer cannot provide accommodation, disabled employees can protect their individual rights in the workplace and ensure the security of their job with the necessary provision of accommodation for a healthy job performance.
Source: hreonline.com, Still Unclear on ADA Accommodations?, Mark McGraw, Dec. 11, 2013