Many of you know my colleague, Gail Cohen, an attorney who works closely with me at Matrix and assists our clients, consultants, and others with ADA and leave of absence issues. Gail recently participated in a panel presentation on the ADA – specifically accommodations and the interactive process – at an EEOC-hosted conference. Kudos to Gail for being selected to join in presenting on this important topic with the law’s enforcement agency! Here is a post from Gail, sharing her presentation and what she learned at the conference.
—Marti Cardi – Vice President, Product Compliance
On Thursday, June 21, I had the privilege to serve on a panel at the EEOC Regional Meeting in Phoenix. My topic was “Reasonable Accommodation – What Works.” Here is a link to my presentation materials. Take a look for a primer on reasonable accommodation and the interactive process – these are the kinds of issues we at Matrix help our clients with on a daily basis.
At the meeting the EEOC addressed some of its current priorities. Here are some key takeaways from the EEOC that I think will be of interest to our readers:
- Pregnancy discrimination and accommodations. In June 2015 the EEOC issued its
Guidance on Pregnancy and Related Issues. A review of the cases filed by the EEOC since then show
that this continues to be a priority. Several states have followed suit by passing mandatory pregnancy
accommodation and nondiscrimination laws. Click here for Matrix’s latest blog on a new state pregnancy law.
- ADA compliance. The EEOC’s ADA compliance priority includes ensuring that employers are engaging
in the interactive process and otherwise complying with their obligations to employees who request
or have a known need for a reasonable accommodation in order to perform their essential job functions.
- Medical inquiries. In addition, the EEOC emphasized pre-employment physicals and medical inquiries,
as well as maintaining the confidentiality of employee medical information. (Did you know that the
failure to maintain confidentiality is an independent violation of the ADA?)
- The Importance of mentoring. The EEOC cited a study indicating that having a formal mentorship
program at your company is one of the best ways to prevent/reduce the occurrence of discrimination.
- Staffing companies. Another EEOC Priority is a focus on staffing companies, who the EEOC believes
do not understand their obligations to comply with the laws they enforce, particularly in connection
with their use of pre-employment testing. Employers need to scrutinize contracts with staffing and
temp agencies closely to ensure that legal and compliance responsibilities properly lie with each party.
Matrix can help! Medical inquiries can be tricky under the ADA. So can knowing how to deal with a challenging accommodation request. Matrix’s dedicated ADA Specialists, backed up by our compliance and clinical teams, provide top-notch ADA claims management, whether the accommodation request is a simple piece of assistive equipment, multiple workplace adjustments, or a leave of absence. To learn more, contact your account manager or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.