In addition to our Week In Review (WIR) and OFCCP Compliance Alerts, we like to provide Compliance Tips. These posts are quick snippets of advice for federal contractors, provided by a variety of field experts. This tip comes to us from Linda Cavanna-Wilk, Attorney at Law with FordHarrison LLP.
Today’s OFCCP Compliance Tip: Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation
As we noted last month, the OFCCP published a “pocket card,” titled “Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation,” to serve as another tool for individuals with disabilities in the workforce. Unfortunately, the pocket card may raise more questions and issues than it answers. For example, the pocket card fails to make any mention of the interactive process required—by employees and employers alike—in a reasonable accommodation request. The pocket card also correctly notes that no special words are required to make a request, but this fails to provide guidance to an employee about what is the most effective way to put his or her employer on notice.
While this tool may encourage individuals to self-report disabilities and further advance OFCCP’s disability goals, federal contractors must be prepared to discuss and answer questions from employees and applicants that are more likely to arise now about the disability accommodation process. The most prepared employers will heed this as a reminder to be proactive about their own accommodations policies and training. Do your employees know to whom to make a complaint or accommodation request? Does management know how to handle such complaints or requests? Do your employees understand its obligations in requesting an accommodation, including the interactive process?