The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) took effect over a decade ago.  However, questions will arise during the hiring process, reasonable accommodations, websites and now with COVID-19.  Organizations should ensure adequate training is conducted to ensure we are compliant with all coverage at the local, state, and federal levels.  The ADAAA is federal legislation, New York State has its own legislation regarding disability protections under the Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR).

Training Considerations & Review:

  1. Who is covered. “Given the expansion of “major life activities” and the removal of mitigating measures from consideration in disability determinations, almost anyone who has, or is regarded as having, a serious impairment or disease that is not temporary will qualify as disabled. Ensure that training covers any applicable state laws prohibiting disability discrimination.” (SHRM)
  2. How hiring policies and practices are affected. Since applicants are covered, re-evaluate hiring processes. Case in point, reading is now a major life activity. Ensure all job descriptions, posting and application process are compliant with the ADAA.  The training should include examples and discussion of interview questions and if there is a reasonable accommodation request.  Define essential functions.
  3. The interactive process and its requirements. “When someone requests an accommodation, the ADA requires an employer to engage in the interactive process with the person to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided to enable that person to perform the requirements of the position. However, many courts have held that an individual does not need to use the magic words, “I’m requesting an accommodation for my disability.” Rather, if someone simply states, “I need help or assistance because of my impairment,” that triggers the process.” (SHRM)
  4. What accommodations are reasonable. This will vary by organization and specifics of the position.  Ensure that leadership is fully aware of the definition of reasonable accommodation, prior to making any decisions based on the request.
  5. What is prohibited.
    • Discrimination
    • Retaliation
    • Illegal Interview Questions

These are just a few thoughts on ADAA training for leadership.  This is a very complicated area of the law and I encourage any organization to seek guidance prior to making any decisions regarding accommodation.  The reasonableness of the accommodation will vary from organization to organization.  Develop a policy, process and communicate expectations to leadership.  Ensure that discrimination and retaliation are covered during the process.  Remember; Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic for any trainings we do in the workplace.  Use scenarios and leave it open for conversation.  HIPPA will also be a crucial part of this training.  I am happy to work with any organization regarding supervisor and leadership training in HR law.

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