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A proactive approach will reduce ADA risk

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2023 | Employment Law

Looking at recent data, disability claims are the most common reason for discrimination claims against US employers, costing companies $120 million in 2020. The Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, became law in 1990 and, to this day, employers continue to struggle to meet the requirements.

The most cost effective lawsuit, of course, is no lawsuit at all. Companies of any size need to carefully consider hiring and human resource matters to protect against discriminatory practices and perceived bias.

Establishing the basics

While most employment law is very precise, disabilities are a unique subject area. Every disability is different. Even if two workers have the same ailment, their personal and medical experiences may be different.

Furthermore, the foundation of the ADA relies on making reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This term generally means that an employer needs to provide resources so the worker can do their job comparably to their peers. But there are exceptions as well, depending on the business impact of these accommodations.

Keeping up is key

Circling back to the 2020 data about ADA complaints, patterns and similarities emerge among the reported violations. Employers can learn from this to better provide for their employees and to avoid costly and damaging allegations.

As we have already mentioned, accommodations will vary for each individual. Employers should stay ahead of what a worker may need, working closely with the employee to make sure their goals are achieved.

Similarly, conditions are subject to change. Medical conditions may deteriorate or shift. And, as for accommodations, technology and health care frequently change with the times. Flexibility is important in meeting each individual’s needs.

As with any compliance issue, documentation is vital as well. The company should keep records about all accommodations, including how it is working with the individual employee to meet their requirements.

Looking out for the business, the brand, and your workers

In previous posts we have emphasized that any business needs to adapt to survive. This is essential in the marketplace, but also in hiring and human resource management. The ADA is not static. Accommodations and expectations will change, and employers can protect their interests as well as their workers by creating a clear, yet flexible process for compliance with the law. By doing so, it will be easier to avoid allegations of wrongdoing.

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