There is no “one size fits all” procedure for handling a request for reasonable accommodations by an employee. If the employer is government-affiliated, or has union employees, the procedures will be completely different and subject to those procedures. For private employers who need a general overview, below are some suggestions for handling a reasonable accommodation checklist. The below should not be substituted for legal advice with an attorney who is given the facts and can provide you with legal advice to address your business’s particular situation:
► Sample Reasonable Accommodation Checklist for California Employers
- Has the employee notified the employer of the medical condition, requesting accommodation orally or in writing? If not, instruct the employee to do this.
- Does the employee’s medical condition constitute a medical condition that affects one or more major life activities? What are the functional limitations (i.e., no lifting over 20 lbs, etc.) that makes it difficult for the employee to perform their job duties?
- Obtain the employee’s consent to verify the medical need with the employee’s healthcare practitioners/physicians. Medical records and all medical materials should be confidential and kept separate from employee’s personnel and HR files. If employee does not provide written consent, request that employee obtain this information directly and provide it to the employer, and set a date. Provide the employee’s job description to employee’s medical treatment providers and request that the employee’s medical providers list the functions the employee cannot do and provide suggested accommodations. For a sample HIPAA-compliant release, click here.
- Has a dialogue been had with the employee to discuss alternatives for getting the work done in a way that will not interfere with the employee’s medical condition? Will the accommodation create an undue hardship for the employer? Will the accommodation create a threat to the employee or others in the performance of the job tasks? This should be an interactive process.
- Steps leading up to meeting should be documented
- Meeting should be with employee and at least 2 company-side representatives (1 to serve as the witness)
- Meeting should be documented
- Summary of meeting should be provided to employee in writing
- All of these matters should be kept confidential so as to protect the employee’s privacy
- Implement the accommodation
- Monitor the accommodation for effectiveness and workability
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