Feldblum States That Clear Job Descriptions Assist In Complying With Reasonable Accommodations Under ADA

Nicholas Fortuna, November 8, 2013.

Chai Feldblum, the Commissioner of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), advised employers to maintain very clear job descriptions of what they expect accomplished to avoid running afoul of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Lawyers for employers have provided the same advice to their clients since the enactment of the ADA.

Feldblum spoke about compliance with the ADA at the American Bar Association’s Annual labor and Employment Law Conference. She explained that if employers have clear, succinct job descriptions that lay out the essential functions of the job as well as their expectations from employees, it would help better understand whether they are able to give accommodations to workers with disabilities. In the first instance, the employee must be qualified to perform the job. She went on to say: “The whole point of the reasonable accommodation is to enable the person to perform the job up to the standards you (the employer) have established, quantitative and qualitative standards.”

The courts and the EEOC give deference to an employer in determining what the essential job functions are and whether the employee can perform them with or without reasonable accommodations. Feldblum warned though, that employers should not take that to mean that regulators or courts will accept anything that an employer deems an essential function to be essential if it does not reflect the reality of the position.



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