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When Must an Employer Accommodate an Employee’s Disabilities?

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2013 | Firm News

Under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title 1, an employer with 15 or more employees is required to provide a disabled person with the same opportunities to perform their job function as they do for an employee without a disability.  This does not give preferential treatment to the disabled employee; but does provide equal opportunity.

An employer must accommodate an employee’s disability when:

  • The employee has been qualified under the ADA guidelines as having a disability
  • The employee must possess the education, skills, experience, and fulfill other criteria required of the position.
  • The employee meets the requirements of essential functions of the job even if it means they must be given reasonable accommodation in order to fulfill the requirements.

In order for an employer to fulfill the ADA guidelines of “Reasonable Accommodation,” for an employee with a disability, they may have to adjust the work area, change some of the work rules, or change the work process to give the disabled employee an opportunity to perform his or her work.

Reasonable Accommodations May Include:

  • Enlarging the work area for wheelchair accessibility, and safety
  • Allowing for service animals such as guide dogs, hearing, or support dogs or monkeys
  • Providing closer workplace parking, or providing transportation to and from work
  • Allowing an employee to work from home
  • Modifying the work schedule
  • Allowing leaves of absence that secures the position while the employee is absent for medical treatment purposes

Employee Disability Representation

Goldman & Ehrlich’s IL attorneys are well-known for their ADA expertise.  Contact an employee disability attorney at Goldman & Ehrlich today.

What Makes a Workplace a Great Place to Work?

A recent workplace study found the following company attributes necessary to make a successful and enjoyable work environment:

  • Communication from the top:   Employees often feel left out, fearful, and disregarded as human beings when they see changes taking place that no one is willing to explain.  While it may be true that employees are being paid to do their jobs, and do not need to know the details of how, or why something is changing in their workplace environment, a wise employer or manager will make their employees feel valued by communicating with them. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing some of their best employees.
  • Building loyalty:  There’s an old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Employers and managers need to demonstrate their appreciation to their employees by getting to know something about each one, and appreciating a job well-done.  For those employees needing a little push, expressing concern about their lack of motivation could transform their becoming a successful and loyal employee simply due to your letting them know you care.
  • When possible, give employees an opportunity to buy into the business; perhaps in profit sharing.  Giving them some degree of ownership motivates them to do their part in making your business a success.
  • Do away with “bully” managers, or supervisors.  This was one of the most prevalent concerns expressed in the study.  We often hear about children and young adults being bullied at school or in college, but it appears to be extremely prevalent in the workplace.  Employers may think they need someone to play the “bad guy;” however, the damage to moral and employee loyalty causes more than one business to fail each year, and all too often, employers overlook this glaring problem.

Chicago Employment Lawyer

If you need help any area of employment law, you need to contact Goldman & Ehrlich, Chicago’s premier employment lawyers, today.

Does Your Employer Have the Right to Spy on You?

Illinois does have laws in place allowing employers to monitor employee’s work-day activities; however, prior consent must be obtained.  In other words, an employer cannot legally record a conversation, and then ask for permission from all of the parties, but must ask for consent to record the conversation before it takes place.  The consent must be expressed consent and not implied consent.

There is an exception to this law of requiring ALL parties to consent to the recording. The Business Use Exception where the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allows conversations to be recorded “within the ordinary course of an employer’s business and where the employer has a legal interest in the subject matter of the conversation.”

Allowed Areas of Recording of Employee Conversations

The Business Use Exception specifically allows for businesses in the following areas to record employee conversations for the purpose of quality control or employee training:

  • Telephone solicitation
  • Marketing research
  • Opinion Research

If the recorded conversation is deemed irrelevant to the above purposes, the recording must be destroyed within a reasonable timeframe.

If an employer is found guilty of violating the law by illegally recording employee’s conversations, unrelated to the employer’s business, the employer can receive up to five years in prison.

There are other methods that employers use to determine if their employees are misusing the time they are supposed to be working. These are normally left unchallenged, and often include monitoring websites visited by the employees, office emails, and requiring employees to clock in and out at the start and end of work.

Employment Law Representation

If you have concerns regarding the legal right of your employer to spy on you, contact an employment attorney at Goldman & Ehrlich for a consultation today.