Employers have a legal obligation to accommodate work-related conflicts posed by an employee's or applicant's disability or religious beliefs. This seems simple enough - be "reasonable." Yet as many business professionals and lawyers know all too well, there is a great deal of room for differences of opinion as to what constitutes a "reasonable accommodation." Considerable effort (and litigation) has gone into defining what is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (for religion). For its part the EEOC has routinely pushed the envelope; it expects employers to go to great lengths to satisfy their obligation to reasonably accommodate workers. Recent cases dealing with accommodations in the form of service dogs, sign-language interpreters, extended leaves of absence and adjusted work schedules, are just some of the positions taken by the EEOC in litigation (with varying degrees of success). Here are some examples:
It has become a "sign of the times" that many Employers, rather than attempting to negotiate the maze of potential Legal Issues with regard to Employee Absences for sickness, child care, etc., have gravitated to what has become identified as the "No Fault Attendance Policy". Under a No Fault Attendance Policy, Employees are assigned certain points for absences regardless of the reason for those absences, and are terminated after they have accumulated enough points to generate termination and, in some cases, have exceeded the maximum number of days absent in a "No Fault Absence Policy" during a calendar or running twelve (12) month period. Employers believe that this is a very efficient way to maintain neutrality and to avoid asking people the reasons for their absences. Unfortunately, it seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking a very staunch position of disagreement with this concept.