When to Engage in the Interactive Process

EMPLOYERS MAY HAVE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THEY CAN ACCOMMODATE AN EMPLOYEE EVEN IF THE EMPLOYEE IS NOT DISABLED

In Gelfo v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, the California Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s decision that the employee was not “actually” physically disabled. However, the court went on to say that the lower court “erred in failing to determine, as a matter of law, that Lockheed regarded [the employee] as physically disabled” and should have engaged in an informal interactive process aimed at effecting a reasonable accommodation. The court held that employers must provide a necessary and reasonable accommodation to an applicant or an employee whom it regards as physically disabled. The lesson: if the employer thinks an applicant or employee may be disabled, the employer should engage in the interactive process of determining what, if any, accommodation will enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
 
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.
 

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Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

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