PREVENTING WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


ACCOMMODATING DISABILITIES, MADE SIMPLE – New Guidelines Package Available for California Employers

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers with five or more on payroll to engage in an “interactive process,” i.e., a timely, good faith communication to explore if and how to reasonably accommodate a physically or mentally disabled worker in order to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Depending on the situation, different types of reasonable accommodation can include modifying the individual’s job duties, providing temporary unpaid leave, changing work schedules, or providing temporary transfers.

To assist employers in conducting and documenting the “interactive process,” the Department of Fair Employment Housing (DFEH) published a Request for Reasonable Accommodation Package (Package) in July 2017, which includes:

  • Section A.  The type of accommodation the employee requested and how it will help to perform his or her job; the anticipated recovery date, if any; and whether the employee has requested any protected leave of absence.
  • Section B. Employer’s request for medical certification (if required to verify the need for an accommodation).
  • Section C. Documentation of “interactive discussions” with the employee, including lists of all potential accommodations and their relative strengths and weaknesses and the employer’s recommended accommodation.
  • Section D. Description of specific accommodation(s) provided and an explanation why the employer denied other options.
  • Section E. Documentation of all further interactive discussions.

Although not required by law, this Package is a useful tool to help employers properly undertake and document their “interactive process” obligations to a disabled worker.

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For more information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth, or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth
August 24, 2017