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Employment handbooks should address reasonable accommodation

As employers, Kentucky companies must adhere to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes providing reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability. How the companies plan to do so should be included in their employment handbooks.

Knowing this and doing it may not be the same thing, however. The policies and procedures in those handbooks need to outline that people with disabilities have the same opportunities when it comes to applying for a job, being hired for a job, being promoted in a job and more. Employees with disabilities have the same access to benefits and privileges as everyone else and are not subject to discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination.

The policies should also include the need and availability of reasonable accommodations. Employers may specify in the policies that if the accommodations should cause an undue hardship on the company, alternatives could be found, and if not, the company is not required to provide the accommodation. Kentucky companies must attempt to meet the needs of their disabled employees or they could face litigation. The ADA requirement extends to the application and hiring process as well -- not just once the person has the job.

The wording of the policies in the employment handbooks needs to protect both sides of the fence. Employers are required to ensure that applicants and employees with disabilities in compliance with the ADA. However, they may also make sure their interests are protected as well. This often means wording the reasonable accommodation section carefully.

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Green Chesnut & Hughes PLLC
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Lexington, KY 40507

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