Big changes are happening in the realm of workplace compliance issues and labor laws in the United States. Noncompliance with government regulations can have serious consequences—and can cost your business big time. Keep up with what's happening between the government and the workplace with the HR Compliance Tracker: your go-to place to stay updated on some major workforce compliance issues.
ADA doesn’t require on-the-spot accommodations
In Brumley v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) doesn’t require employers to make immediate accommodations of an employees' choosing.
UPS employee Melissa Brumley injured her back while moving heavy packages. After shifting to a light duty position, she took leave and then returned to work with permanent driving and lifting restrictions. Her supervisor initiated the interactive process for workplace accommodation two weeks later, then scheduled a meeting with her the following month. During the meeting, Brumley decided to return to her original job, and UPS closed the interactive process.
Brumley sued, alleging UPS didn’t accommodate her disabilities and sought damages for lost wages and employment benefits for the time she missed. While the ADA requires that employers make reasonable arrangements for employees’ disabilities, the law doesn’t hold them liable if they engage in a process of good faith. In this case, UPS engaged in good faith by keeping Brumley informed throughout the process and offering her alternative accommodations.
EEOC Sues Stanley Black & Decker for Violating ADA
If companies with rigid attendance policies aren’t careful, they could run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Stanley Black & Decker Inc., a global diversified industrial company, when they fired an employee with cancer who took leave for medical treatments. According to the suit, the company terminated the sales representative for poor attendance in December 2016 despite her good performance. Although her absences were related to cancer treatments and testing, Stanley Black & Decker’s attendance policy doesn’t provide exceptions for people who need leave as an accommodation to their disability. The employee was fired without a final written warning.
Following the thread of blunders, the EEOC filed suit against the company for the alleged violation of the ADA. The EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “This case should remind all employers that they have an obligation to make exceptions to ‘no fault’ attendance policies as a form of reasonable accommodation unless doing so would be an undue hardship.”
The EEOC’s vigilance of inflexible leave policies should encourage employers to review their company attendance policies in compliance with the disability laws.