The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has shown its intent to enforce two of its priorities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those are company policies of ‘leave limits” and full recovery policies. Some of the companies that have been targeted have a business present in and around Boca Raton, Florida.
Among the employers sued by the EEOC for violations are a major airline, a nationwide home improvement store, a large shipping and delivery service and a large manufacturerof metal products. Each company was subjected to at least $1 million in fines and required to revise its employment practices.
The limits on medical leave and the requirement of 100 percent recovery before returning to work were both attacked under the broader ADA requirement of ‘reasonable accommodation”. Under this edict, an employer must provide a disabled employee a reasonable accommodation that would not result in an undue hardship to the company. It must first make a determination of what duties the employee can and cannot do. Then, it must determine whether any positions exist or whether the employer can limit duties to accommodate the employee.
In 2016, the EEOC had issued guidance regarding maximum leave and full recovery policies, emphasizing the fact that the EEOC considers both policies a potential violation of the ADA. As the subsequent actions against these companies show, the Commission intended to enforce its position against non-complying employers. Those companies that have revised their policies have received praise from the EEOC.
Since the enactment of the ADA, the fact that an employee is disabled is no longer a sufficient reason for discharge. The company is required to make reasonable efforts at accommodation. Disabled employees who have been discriminated against due to their disability should seek the counsel of an experienced employment law attorney.