The Americans with Disabilities Act
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide leave as an accommodation in many situations where such leave will allow the employee to later perform the essential functions of his or her job.
This right is just one part of the law’s requirement that your employer provide a reasonable accommodation. Too often employers would rather move the goal posts on disabled employees than provide such accommodations.
The law requires both the employee and the employer to work cooperatively and reasonably in an interactive process to come up with and implement reasonable accommodations that will work in real life.
Do I Have a Case?
Many times an employee’s own doctor ends up getting them fired by insisting on accommodations the law may not require. Often, doctors will demand indefinite periods of leave from work. This almost always gets employees fired without any valid claim. Such requests for leave should spell out exactly how much leave is needed and should be limited to as little time as is absolutely necessary—unless the employee qualifies for FMLA leave. Leave requests that fall only under the ADA should be limited to no more than six months in length and are, ideally, much shorter. Employees can get back together with their doctor regularly to review this treatment plan and keep in good communication with the company in case more leave ends up being needed after an initial period away from work.
It is important to discuss your accommodation needs with an experienced employment attorney before having your doctor fill out your company’s forms. Your doctor may be more flexible in the accommodations she believes are absolutely necessary if she knows ahead of time what it will take to keep your job.