After viewing the Tutorial, completing the reading, and reviewing the Lecture notes in conjunction with the TCO, answer the following questions relating to ADA expanded by the ADAAA. If such a situation occurred in your workplace and you were the director of human resources:
You are Role/Assignment: 1. Would you deem Karina disabled under the ADAAA? If so, what reasonable accommodations would you offer to her?
Karina has a medical condition requiring her to take steroids and other medications. This condition led to Karina gaining weight and not able to wear two uniform items, the stockings and heels. These conditions affect her back, circulatory system, and endurance level. Additionally, according to her doctor, Karina must stop wearing the stockings and heels because of her condition. Based on this information, Karina does qualify as “disabled” even if she does not display symptoms that interfere with her ability to perform her duties. By taking medication, Karina is mitigating (reducing) the effects of her illness. However, her employer cannot consider this information in determining if she has a protected disability under the ADAAA.
Karina and her employer should agree on an acceptable resolution that will meet her medical requirements, easily identify her as an employee, and ensure she presents a professional appearance. To accommodate Karina reasonably, the employer could offer her the opportunity to wear lower heeled (or flat) shoes without stockings. Another alternative would be to allow her to wear pants and flat shoes or black tennis shoes.
2. From an ADA policy standpoint, what would your ideal be in terms of an employer ADAAA policy? What would your ideal be as to what the employee (Karina) should be told by the HR department in regards to her rights and obligations pursuant to the ADAAA? From the employer policy perspective, focus on identification of reasonable accommodation requirements under applicable law, application of the legal requirements for this scenario, determinations as to whether reasonable accommodations can be made, and steps that can be taken to make specific accommodations if requested.
An ideal ADAAA policy would comply with all federal and state laws concerning individuals with disabilities and respond to government regulations and guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Additionally, the policy will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities concerning application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation (or benefits), training or other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
Individuals requesting accommodation and can be reasonably accommodated without creating an undue burden or causing a direct threat to workplace safety will be given the same consideration for employment as any other applicant. Candidates that pose a direct threat to the health, safety, and well-being to themselves or others and the threat cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation will not be hired.
Electronics Are for You will reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with a disability to ensure they can perform the essential functions of their positions if doing so does not cause a direct threat to these individuals or others in the workplace. Furthermore, Electronics Are For You will not reasonably accommodate an individual if the threat cannot be resolved by reasonable accommodation and/or it creates an undue hardship to the organization. Individuals should contact HR with any questions or requests for accommodation.
All employees are required to comply with organization safety standards. Current employees posing a direct threat to the health and/or safety to themselves or others will be placed on appropriate leave until a decision can be made regarding their employment situation. Individuals currently using illegal drugs will not receive coverage under the company ADA/ADAAA policy. The HR department is responsible for implementing this policy, including resolution of reasonable accommodation, safety/direct threat and undue hardship issues.
Additionally, during recruiting and hiring phases the organization should devote efforts to assess an individual’s qualifications and if they can provide reasonable accommodation. Review training manuals and employee handbooks concerning disabilities to ensure they comply with ADAAA regulations.
Under EEOC policy, employers may require employees to wear certain articles of clothing to protect themselves and coworkers (e.g., construction workers are required to wear certain headgear to prevent injury; health care workers wear gloves to prevent transmission of disease from or to patients). On other occasions, employers may impose dress codes to identify themselves more easily to customers or to portray a certain image (e.g., a store requires all sales associates to dress in black). This same policy may also prohibit employees from wearing certain items to promote a certain image (e.g., prohibitions on wearing jeans).
If the employee cannot meet the dress code due to disability, the employer may still require compliance if the dress code is job-related and consistent with business necessity. An employer may also require an employee with a disability meet dress standards required by federal law. If an individual with a disability cannot comply with a dress code mandated by federal law, even with a reasonable accommodation, he will not be considered “qualified.”
Electronics Are For You requires their female employees to wear miniskirts, heels, stockings, and sleeveless shirts. Unfortunately, Karina has an illness that makes wearing stockings and heels medically impossible. She is requesting reasonable accommodation based on her doctors diagnosis. Karina and her supervisor should discuss the situation and both come up with a solution to accommodate her needs and properly portray the company’s image. This could include allowing her to wear lower heeled shoes and no stocking, or dress pants and black tennis shoes.
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