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Employee Benefits

How to Navigate ADA/ADAAA and Distinguish Requests for Reasonable Accommodations

By March 6, 2023June 22nd, 2023No Comments

At McConkey, we recognize that one core component of an effective employee benefits portfolio is rooted in protecting your teammates from the unexpected.  When an injury or illness keeps an individual away from work for an extended period, will they receive support necessary for recovery? Is their savings strong enough to sustain time without pay so they may focus on getting better, and safely returning to work, or are they covered?

We are proud of our established partnerships with insurance carriers dedicated to providing the right support, at the right time. When a person is injured, many fall into the trap of focusing on inabilities, on DIS-ability. Foundational to the recovery process, however, is evolving that lens to help focus on AB-ility—coupling innovation and empathy to drive results.

An important component on the path to recovery is the psychology behind feeling engaged and productive. Returning to work, safely, can help to accelerate results.  It is important for employers to remember their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA/ADAAA) to ensure compliance. The ADA requires a covered employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Reasonable accommodation might include, for example, making the workplace accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone who is blind or hearing impaired.

Diving more deeply, a reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;
  • Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position; and
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

It can be difficult, at times, to recognize informal requests for reasonable accommodation—but it’s important to remain vigilant.  We’ve built the following resources as a strong starting point to help avoid common mistakes.

Does your current disability benefits program include helpful consultation and support regarding the ADA/ADAAA? For all of your employee benefits questions, McConkey is here to help. We have decades of experience and can provide the consultation and specialized solutions your company needs. For more information, contact a member of our McConkey Employee Benefits Team or Brian Orsinger.

Brian Orsinger

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