How can HR ensure that employees who genuinely need disability accommodation get it? Here’s a checklist from the Labor Department’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) that may help:
1. Pick a point person
Nobody has to tell HR that you need an accommodation policy. But don’t forget to make somebody responsible for ensuring it’s followed. Otherwise, an accommodation request may get passed around without anyone acting on it.
2. Train supervisors to recognize accommodation requests
Employees who need a disability accommodation don’t have to use the word “accommodation” when they bring up their problem. If someone indicates that a medical condition is causing a problem, the supervisor should treat it as an accommodation request.
3. Have a consistent process
Start by listening to the employee, who may have a practical suggestion for accommodating him- or herself. You may also want to consult the employee’s medical provider – with permission – and/or refer to outside resources like JAN (go to http://askjan.org).
4. Monitor the accommodation
Some accommodations may need to be monitored and updated. For example, if the accommodation involved equipment, the equipment may need periodic maintenance.
5. Remember new supervisors
Don’t let new supervisors disrupt the proper handling of accommodation requests just because you haven’t trained them. Also, train new employees on your policies and procedures.
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