The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) provide basic protections making disability discrimination illegal. The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability in the terms and conditions of employment, with one of the Act’s main protections requiring employers to “reasonably accommodate” an employee’s disability. To “reasonably accommodate” a disability means that an employer must take those reasonable steps that may allow you to do your job, despite your disability. The ADAAA, which recently became effective, further defines who may be considered “disabled” and subject to “reasonable accommodations.”
Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held ADAAA reasonable accommodation hearings in an effort to provide more specific guidance to employers and workers regarding just what may be considered a “reasonable accommodation,” but noted, “there are no blanket answers to these questions.”
One of the main issues raised included flexible leave policies, which allow employees to have leave extensions based on their individual circumstances. In many cases, an employee is not ready to return to work when their approved leave ends. Two recent cases were settled against employers who automatically fired disabled workers who weren’t ready to return to work when their leave was up. The EEOC noted that an “inflexible period of leave” is risky for employers, and is likely insufficient to satisfy appropriate leave.
As the policies with regard to leave and disability discrimination continue to evolve, our team of Atlanta employment lawyers are dedicated to ensuring our clients rights are represented. If you have a disability, and believe you may have been discriminated against, please contact our Georgia employment lawyers for a confidential case evaluation.