The Employer's Legal Resource: JAN Launches the Workplace Accommodation Toolkit
Undoubtedly you have heard that employers of 20 or more (or 1 or more in the state of Oklahoma) may be called upon to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to a person with a disability. Literally volumes are written about what an employer must do to adhere to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the state equivalent. Of course, an employer cannot discriminate against a person with a disability. But, these laws also require that employers engage in an "interactive process" to determine if the person with a disability can perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable accommodation or whether that would be an undue hardship to the employer.
JAN – the Job Accommodation Network – has been around for years and has been a resource for employees and employers alike in navigating these issues. Last month, JAN launched a new website, its Accommodation Toolkit. While we have not reviewed the entirety of the contents of this website and cannot endorse it as legally sound in all regards for that reason, it is a worthwhile resource. The JAN toolkit provides everything from definitions to sample documents. If you are looking for a resource spot, you might want to stop in. You may still need to tailor things to your workplace and you may still need to seek legal counsel, but it can get you started. The other reason JAN has been, and remains, an excellent resource is that it may provide you with ideas you had not previously considered. As the law requires you engage in an interactive process, you should not be locked into only one thought process. T he JAN Network and its Toolkit may help broaden your perspective on what is possible.
By Kristen L. Brightmire, firstname.lastname@example.org