The World Health Organization says roughly 15 percent of the world's population, or one of every seven people has some sort of disability. Back in the 1970s, the organization estimated the number at about 10 percent of the population. The number is significant. Florida residents need to know that state law and federal law protects disabled workers from disability discrimination.
Workers who are capable of performing essential duties of a job, but who have a disability can request a reasonable accommodation for their disability. Employers have a duty under the law to provide reasonable accommodations, unless doing so would present an undue hardship upon the employer. The topic of reasonable accommodations came up Wednesday in an EEOC meeting, which focused on issue of leave as a reasonable accommodation under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
At Wednesday's hearing EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic said, "Managing situations where employees need leave for medical conditions is one of the most vexing issues for both employers and employees. Today's meeting should educate employers about complying with the law and educate us at the EEOC about making these difficult situations more manageable, ultimately making us all more successful in keeping people with disabilities engaged in the workforce."
Experts sought further guidance from the commission concerning a variety of issues based upon the size of the companies involved and ranging to the maximum frames under an employer's leave policy and when additional leave above the time limit will be deemed necessary to comply with federal disability discrimination law.
Christopher Kuczynski, an ADA attorney with the EEOC told the panel that while many requests for leave for medical reasons are handled through employer's leave policies, disputes can arise when a the employer would not normally allow the leave under their policy. A second EEOC attorney, John Hendrickson, echoed the problems that can be associated with inflexible leave policies of some employers.
The EEOC reportedly hopes to provide more practical guidance on the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation under federal disability discrimination law. The Commission held the meeting open for 15 days for people to submit written comments to the agency for review.
Source: EEOC, "Experts Give EEOC Range of Views on Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation," 8 Jun 2011