Disability Accommodation – The Interactive Process

What is the interactive process and why should I care? If you are a disabled employee, you should care because unless your disability is obvious, it is incumbent upon you to initiate the conversation with your employer regarding your limitations and necessary accommodations. As an employer, California law requires you engage in this thing called the “interactive process” with your disabled employees and failure to do so subjects you to liability separate from the failure to reasonably accommodate itself. Now on to the nitty gritty. The law Both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) require employers to engage in a “timely, good faith, interactive process” to determine effective reasonable accommodations with an individual who has a known disability or medical condition and requests accommodation.  However, liability exists only if a reasonable accommodation is in fact possible. Since California generally afford employees more protection than federal law, under California law, an employer’s duty to engage in the interactive process with and reasonably accommodate extends to employees and applicants who do not actually … Continue reading

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