On May 9, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new resource document discussing and clarifying the rights available to individuals who request work leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The document is titled Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The resource is designed to educate employers and employees on leave policies, including policies for medical and other healthcare-related leave that are compliant with the ADA. According to the EEOC, disability-related complaints regarding discriminatory employer leave policies have increased within the last six years.
The resource responds to common questions that employers and employees have about the interactive leave process. Examples of these questions include whether and when the employee’s disability entitles them to leave as a reasonable accommodation, how much and what the employee must communicate about their disability in order to receive leave as an accommodation, and when leave would likely be an “undue burden” on the employer. The resource does not create new law, but instead explains how the ADA applies to the specific situation of leave-as-reasonable-accommodation.
EEOC Chair Jenny Yang states that the provision of medical or disability-related leave, particularly when the person is recovering from medical treatment, can be a critical reasonable accommodation in the workplace. Commissioner Victoria Lipnic adds that medical and disability leave issues are among the most complicated faced by employers and that the document provides a clear statement of how the EEOC will treat cases relating to it.
For more information, read the press release.