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ADA COMPLIANCE PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS FOR HR 2010 Audra Hamilton, J.D. AUTHOR

Julie K. Athey, J.D. EDITOR

Brentwood, Tennessee


This book provides practical information concerning the subject matters covered. It is sold with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author is rendering legal advice or other professional service. Some of the information provided in this publication contains a broad overview of federal and state law, which changes regularly. You should consult a competent attorney if you are in need of specific legal advice concerning any of the subjects addressed in this book.

Š 2009 M. Lee Smith Publishers LLC 5201 Virginia Way P.O. Box 5094 Brentwood, Tennessee 37024-5094 (800) 274-6774 www.mleesmith.com www.hrhero.com ISBN 978-1-60029-114-2

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission from the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America

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CONTENTS Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

Chapter One: OVERVIEW OF ADA REQUIREMENTS Applicability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1–1 Who Is Protected by the ADA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1–1 What the ADA Requires and Prohibits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1–2

Chapter Two: TO WHOM DOES THE ADA APPLY? Covered Employers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2–1 Individuals Protected by the ADA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2–5 Chapter Two Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2–6 Chapter Two Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2–9

Chapter Three: THE MEANING OF “DISABILITY” Actual Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3–2 Record of a Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3–13 Regarded as Disabled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3–14 Chapter Three Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3–16 Chapter Three Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3–21

Chapter Four: DETERMINING IF AN INDIVIDUAL IS “QUALIFIED” Definition of “Qualified” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4–1 Essential Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4–2 Direct Threat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4–6 Chapter Four Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4–9 Chapter Four Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4–11 iii


ADA Compliance — Practical Solutions for HR

Chapter Five: PROVIDING REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS What a Reasonable Accommodation Is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–2 What a Reasonable Accommodation Isn’t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–2 Working Through What Is Reasonable and What Isn’t Reasonable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–5 How to Know If an Accommodation Is Needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–9 ADAAA Changes Affecting Reasonable Accommodations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–12 Chapter Five Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–13 Chapter Five Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5–17

Chapter Six: HIRING ISSUES Pre-Offer Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–1 Post-Offer Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–8 Chapter Six Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–12 Chapter Six Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–15

Chapter Seven: MEDICAL INQUIRIES AND CONFIDENTIALITY Job-Related Medical Inquiries and Examinations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7–1 Confidentiality of Medical Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7–5 Chapter Seven Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7–8 Chapter Seven Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7–11

Chapter Eight: THE INTERACTION OF ADA WITH OTHER LAWS Family and Medical Leave Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–1 Workers’ Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–8 Putting the ADA, Workers’ Compensation, and FMLA Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–10 USERRA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–13 Comparison Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–17 Chapter Eight Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–17 Chapter Eight Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–21

Chapter Nine: THE ADA AND BENEFITS PLANS How the Discrimination Provisions Apply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–1 Disability-Based Distinctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–3 Defenses to Disability-Based Distinction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–5 iv


Contents

Coverage of Dependents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–6 Wellness Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–6 Disability and Retirement Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–7 Chapter Nine Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–7 Chapter Nine Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9–11

Chapter Ten: HANDLING TERMINATIONS Pre-Termination Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–1 Policies, Procedures, and Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–9 What to Do If the EEOC Comes Calling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–10 Chapter Ten Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–12 Chapter Ten Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10–15

Chapter Eleven: SPECIAL ISSUES ON THE ADA Mental Disabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11–1 Drug Abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11–6 Persons Associated with Disabled Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11–7 Chapter Eleven Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11–9 Chapter Eleven Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11–11

Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N–1

Appendix A: ANSWER KEY FOR QUIZ QUESTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A–1

Appendix B: OVERVIEW OF CHAPTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B–1

Appendix C: ADA FORMS DOL Form WH-380–E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C–3 DOL Form WH-380–F . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C–7

Appendix D: COMPARISON OF ADA, FMLA, WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND USERRA LAW PROVISIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D–1 v


ADA Compliance — Practical Solutions for HR

Appendix E: STATE DISABILITY LAW COMPARISON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E–1

Appendix F: SAMPLE POLICIES Sample Equal Employment Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–1 Sample Job Descriptions Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–2 Sample Preemployment Drug Screens Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–3 Sample Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–4 Sample Employment Records Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–7 Sample Harassment and/or Discrimination Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F–8

Appendix G: THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND REGULATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G–1

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INTRODUCTION

or nearly 20 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been considered one of the most complicated and difficult employment laws for employers to understand and comply with. What started out as a convoluted statute has become even more confusing over the years due to numerous court rulings that conflicted not only with the EEOC’s regulations, but with each other as well. The U.S. Supreme Court added to the confusion by issuing several opinions that severely limited the scope and reach of the law’s protections.

F

Although the Court’s decisions were — for the most part — considered “employer-friendly,” they did little to advance employers’ understanding of or compliance with the ADA. In addition, those decisions had the effect of reducing the number of employees and job applicants protected by the ADA. In the end, employers, employees, disability advocates, and politicians reached the near universal conclusion that the Court’s interpretations of the ADA conflicted with Congress’s original intent in passing the law, with the result that many disabled individuals were deprived of the law’s protections. In September 2008, Congress passed — and President George W. Bush signed — the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). Effective January 1, 2009, the ADAAA amends the ADA to expand its protections to a wider range of employees and disabilities than had been allowed under the Supreme Court’s rulings.1 It should also be noted that although the law makes substantial changes to the definition of what it means to be “disabled” or “regarded as disabled” under the ADA, many of its provisions remain substantially the same. We will point out the major changes throughout this manual. What does the passage of the ADAAA mean to you? One pragmatic concern is that it is likely to inspire a new wave of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges and lawsuits alleging disability discrimination. For this reason, employers need to be more vigilant than ever in their efforts to comply with the ADA. vii


ADA Compliance — Practical Solutions for HR

This manual is designed to lead you through all the steps of ADA compliance. It will help you:

• Determine whether you are a covered employer under the ADA; • Establish an ADA-compliant hiring process; • Analyze which employees are “disabled” and “qualified” under the ADA, and how this has changed with the passage of the ADAAA;

• Know what reasonable accommodations are and aren’t required, and the process required for making that decision;

• Comply with the ADA’s other provisions, including the “regarded as disabled” and “record of disability” provisions, discrimination and retaliation provisions, and medical confidentiality requirements;

• Understand the ADA’s interaction with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state workers’ compensation laws, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA); and

• Reduce the risk of terminating employees who may be entitled to ADA protections. We have structured each chapter of this manual into three segments: substantive information on the ADA’s requirements (including realistic, detailed examples to illustrate the concepts discussed), a chapter review, and a multiple choice quiz that allows you to test your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter covered. In short, by troubleshooting for the issues highlighted in this book, you should be able to greatly reduce your organization’s exposure to disability discrimination claims.

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