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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

I didn’t come up with the title … Congress did.  In 1945 Congress enacted a new law declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week” to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment.  In 1962, the work “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.  In 1988, Congress expanded the week to be a montha dn changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship.  If an employer knows, or should know, that an employee requires an accommodation, the employer must engage in an interactive process of determining what, if any, reasonable accommodation will enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.  Failing to engage in the interactive process can subject the employer to liability.  Conversely, if the employee fails to to engage in the interactive process the employee may destroy an otherwise viable discrimination claim.

Accommodating employees or obtaining an accommodation from an employer is sometimes not an easy task.  Each party bears responsibility and the process works best when the employer and the employee work together.  Because this is an area of increasing litigation, both parties should educate themselves regarding their rights and responsbilities.

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.