Interactive Process for Requesting Accommodations for your Disability
When an employee with disabilities communicates the need for reasonable accommodations, the employer must engage in the interactive process to find a solution that is favorable for both parties. There are many types of disabilities, and not all disabilities are clearly visible; however, a disability need not be visible to qualify for protections under the law. You can learn more about disabilities that qualify for protection here.
The interactive process refers to the process by which an employee who has a disability or impairment requests accommodations from their employer. After a request, an employer is then required to engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee to discuss potential reasonable accommodations. If an agreement is reached, the employer must implement the agreed-upon accommodations.
As part of the interactive process, each of the parties shares information about the nature of the disability and the limitations that may affect the employee's ability to perform his or her job duties. Employers must consider any reasonable accommodations that may be necessary to allow the employee to perform his or her job duties. You can learn more about reasonable accommodations here.
Generally, interactive processes are required after the employer is aware that the employee may have some limitations resulting from a condition that could be classified as a disability. Accommodations can be made to allow the employee to perform their duties despite the disability, and interactive processes are a way for employers to discuss potential solutions with the employee. This helps to ensure that the employee can perform their job effectively and that their rights are protected.
Employers must be aware of any potential discrimination laws that may be violated if they fail to engage in the interactive process. It is a legal requirement that communications during the interactive process be made in good faith.
Failing to engage in good faith communications during the interactive process is also disability discrimination. You can learn more about disability discrimination here.
At TONG LAW, we represent employees in interactive process disputes.